New downtown building on the rise in Monongahela

Scott Beveridge
Observer Reporter

A new commercial building is under construction on a vacant lot in historic Monongahela in a Mon Valley region where downtown demolition projects have tended to be the norm.

Monongahela furniture store owner Claudia Williams broke ground Thursday on the 26-foot-wide building on a lot in the 100 block of Main Street beside property where a blighted former hotel stood before she had it demolished in 2011.

“It’s nice to see something going up because everything in the Valley has been coming down,” said Emil Wargo of Elizabeth, while he shopped Friday in Williams’ store, CJ’s Furniture.

Williams said she never intended for the Glasser Hotel property she purchased beside her store to remain vacant.

“It’s the business district, and we need businesses,” Williams said Friday.

The small city has been springing back to life in recent years with a renovated riverfront stage that features a summer concert series and new construction near where West Main Street meets Route 136 at the north end of town.

“Downtown Monongahela is back. We’re here to stay. ”

Her new building will have a brick facade and two retail spaces that will be entered from the south side of the building, rather than from Main Street. The stores will sit behind a new lane leading to parking spaces. The architectural renderings show the two-story building having two apartments on its second floor.

Williams said she already has commitments from two businesses to occupy the building, which should be ready to open before the end of the year. She declined to identify the businesses at this time.

Flament Masonry of Monogahela was on site Friday preparing to construct a foundation.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Jennifer Kisiday, owner of The Vintage Valley antiques store next door to the construction site.

“It just shows that Monongahela is still alive,” Kisiday said. “It’s definitely the nicest town in the Valley.”

She also said the new building shows that Williams “definitely has faith in her town.”