POTTSTOWN PA – There’s no shortage of what sound like interesting ideas – a sports venue, an activity center, even a marketplace – for the future use of a vacant barn occupying Lower Pottsgrove-owned open space on Pruss Hill Road, if responses to a Tuesday (July 1, 2014) story in The Post are any indication.
The story reported Board of Commissioners’ President Bruce Foltz had wondered aloud during a public meeting how the township could make better use of the barn it has owned for about nine years. Residents both within and outside the municipality’s borders offered fast answers by e-mail, in comments at The Post website, and in replies on its Facebook page (where the story had been read by 1,310 people as of Wednesday at 10:15 a.m.).
Having learned the township barn contained an aging basketball court prompted many to suggest its sports use be revived. Among them was Pottsgrove Board of School Directors’ member David Faulkner. “Restore this to an indoor basketball court that the public could use by signing out keys from the township office and reserving time,” he urged.
Faulkner hoped such a facility could be operated as a parks and recreation project. “Both adults and teenagers may be looking for a low-cost court to use to play, especially during the cold months,” he said. The building, he added, would be suitable “for other youth activities that may need to be held indoors instead of outside.”
Patty Fetterman was thinking sports, too, but a little outside the box.
The interior, Fetterman posed, might work as an Airsoft range. That’s a space in which contestants shoot soft, ball-like projectiles at each other from a special type of air-powered gun. Airsoft ranges have become popular in Florida, although they generally require more square footage than what the barn might accommodate.
Janine Lehr, like Faulkner, foresaw a use beyond exercise and competition. The building might work as a “community center for all ages,” she offered; Sandie Duncan Greco of Sanatoga readily agreed. Consider turning it into a “dance hall,” added Rebecca Shoemaker.
Jim M. Folk, Shelly McKinney Stockmal, and Woodgate community resident Ed Cox joined those who were thinking about a return on the township’s investment.
“Allow it to be used as a weekend retail location for crafts business run by township residents,” Cox contended. “Rent it out to clubs and associations. (It’d be a) good place for hoagie fund-raisers,” he said. Folk liked the rental opportunity, particularly for local businesses. It could “help with funds for the township,” he surmised.
“A farmer’s market would be great,” Stockmal chipped in.
Would any of these options or others fill the commissioners’ bill? That’s not yet known, but some of the respondents recognized the barn and its less-than-1-acre footprint were accompanied by some problems.
“The location has limited parking, which might need to be addressed,” Cox noted. Traffic could be problematic too, observed Chrissy Brown, particularly in light of “bridges that are already in need of replacing,” she said, referring to the deteriorating state of spans on Rupert and Pruss Hill roads. The structure itself might need attention, Concetta Louise Ludwig added; “if it has been vacant … is it safe?,” she asked.
It is seemingly secure. At Foltz’s request, the township police department is regularly patrolling the property and guarding what he and others consider to be an asset awaiting a different use.