Three hundred and sixty-five men and women, most of them angry, yesterday gathered in common council chamber, Allegheny, to listen to the report of the board of reviewers on the Perrysville avenue improvements. They own property abutting on the thoroughfare and are dissatisfied with the assessment of damages and benefits.
There was much dissatisfaction when they learned the total amount due from property owners was $255,513.84. The end is not yet. A public meeting is to be held to-morrow night in the Lithgow avenue school house. A plan of procedure will be agreed upon.
The viewers were D. B. Oliver, D. O. Barr and E. E. Phillips, and they were appointed last August by common pleas court No. 3. They have been hard at work since. Their task was to assess the damages and benefits caused by the widening, change of grade, grading, paving and curbing of Perrysville avenue from Carroll street to the city line.
The report finds the damages on the west side of the avenue to be $36,374.16; on east side, $52,231.23; total, $88,605.45. The benefits found were: West side, $139,702.62; east side, $130,109.22; total, $269,811.84. The total cost of the improvement was $367,508.16. The total damages and cost was $456,113.67. The amount assessed against the city was $186,301.73, which was brought up by special assessments to $200,599.73. On this the city has paid $183,754.08, leaving due from it $14,725.
The making of a beautiful boulevard of Perrysville avenue was complete in 1894. The city named a board of viewers, but its report was not confirmed by court because the entire act under which the improvement was ordered was declared unconstitutional. Remedial legislation was asked at the session of the assembly in 1897, but the law passed was found not to extend in its curative provisions to the Perrysville case. Another act was secured from the last assembly, and under it the court appointed the board which has just finished its work.
Property owners claim the avenue is an outlet, and the city should pay the whole expense. In fact, the city did make an arrangement to pay one-half, and has nearly discharged the obligation. Another objection was the omission of all assessments against the traction lines. Allegheny city bought the avenue when it was owned by the Perrysville Plank Road Company, and the railroad company had its franchise. It has laughed at ordinances passed to make it improve the street for a foot on either side of and between its tracks.
Some of the heaviest items in the report are against the Thomas Marshall estate. One item is: Damages, $3,688; benefits, $8,294. The Western University account is: damages, $1,116; benefits, $3,542. H. M. Boyd estate: Damages, $3,046; benefits, $5,772. Stephen Mercer estate, $3,574; benefits, $7,541. Exceptions can be filed within five days to the report, and a hearing will be fixed. The appeal in court, when the report is filed there, can be made within 30 days. A protracted contest is expected, although D. B. Oliver made a speech to the assemblage of property owners saying the assessments had been made without favor or affection. They did not examine the former reports of reviewers.