By Jim Raykie
I read with interest the story on the front page of a recent edition of The Herald about Mike Lisac, owner of Warehouse Sales in Downtown Sharon, who has bought some historic buildings and is renovating them in an attempt to lure business to the city.
The story illustrated how he had the false front removed from the old Reyers Outlet on East State Street, uncovering the brick and classic bay windows that were hidden behind it for many years.
I contrast this scenario with the one I encountered when I arrived at The Herald from Penn State in 1974. Federal funds were fueling redevelopment of the downtown area, claiming residential properties in the South Ward and commercial establishments along the south side of West State Street.
Those grand, historic structures are staples on various posts on Shenango Valley II’s Facebook page as well as for other history buffs in the area, including The Herald’s John Zavinski, who blends old postcards and downtown history into an exciting visual presentation.
I wonder how things may have been different for Downtown Sharon had more people been as interested in preservation as Mike is today. I wonder how many buildings may have been spared the wrecking ball and would have given Sharon an authentic downtown look.
To offer a little walking tour of the West State Street area businesses in the early 1970s, I leafed through a 1972 Sharon City Directory.
Here are some the once-thriving businesses that were relocated or leveled in the spirit of urban renewal from the West State Street, South Water Avenue, South Main Avenue areas:
Szabo’s Jewelry, U.S. Rep. Joe Vigorito’s office, Sharon Optical, Dr. William A. Reyer, Routman women’s clothing, Isaly’s, Silverman’s Family Shoes, Zolton’s Furniture, The Stag and Doe, The Decorator House, Korner News Stand, The Dinner Bell, Outdoor Army Store, Diamond Cafe, King’s Music, Ogden McMahon Carpets, Teglo’s Realty, Treantenou’s Hotel, King Korn Stamp Co., Carpenter’s Service Station, Sabulski’s Restaurant, Moose Club, Anderson Taxi, Deforeest Buick-Cadillac, El Bika Grotto, Union Bus Terminal, Sheehan Plumbing and Daffin’s.
Cheers to Mike. May he find success in his ambitious labors to provide a little economic boost to the city and preserve some history along the way.
We go by the police reports
The newsroom is fielding more and more calls as months go by regarding information obtained from police reports.
One of the common questions is: “That’s what police are saying. Why didn’t you ask me my side of the story?”
Newspapers don’t do that for a handful of reasons, the most important of which is potential libel cases that comments away from the police report create.
For newspapers, what the police report says happened, is protected information. If the police report or other official documentation contains an error in fact, newspapers aren’t held responsible.
Allowing for comment beyond the official word of police and other law enforcement removes the umbrella of protection for the media, and exposes the organization to libel action.
All sides are presented in court. Statements in a public court are regarded as protected information as well.
Cheers to Alex Kovach, Pam Dorfi
Here’s wishing a speedy recovery to Sharpsville Mayor Alex Kovach and his sister-in-law, Pam Dorfi. Alex, looking to extend his golfing career, recently had knee replacement surgery and is recovering well. Pam’s health issue was a little more serious, but after a short stay in the hospital, she is well along the road to recovery. Pam is the driving force behind the annual soapbox derby races held locally -- Greater Pennsylvania Super Kids Classic -- supporting special-needs children.
Jim Raykie is the executive editor of The Herald and writes this column on Mondays, His email is firstname.lastname@example.org