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Commissioners Authorize ‘Campus’ Land Deal

Lower Pottsgrove commissioners settle in to start their Monday meeting

SANATOGA PA – The proposed acquisition of three properties at the corner of East High Street and South Pleasant View Road, for prospective use as a Lower Pottsgrove municipal campus, is moving ahead. The township Board of Commissioners on Monday (Feb. 5, 2018) authorized Manager Ed Wagner to execute the purchase agreement valued at $377,000, with an anticipated closing date of Feb. 28 or earlier.

But emphasis of a discussion surrounding the real estate deal, initiated by former commissioner Tony Doyle, seemed to focus on the word “prospective.” It has not yet been determined by commissioners or their advisory Infrastructure Committee exactly what the best use for the property may be.

It’s even possible, Board Member Ray Lopez suggested, that the township could “flip” or sell the land – which he said was once valued by others for as much as $1 million in a healthy real estate market – and use any profit to fulfill its need for a larger municipal building elsewhere.

“We’re just at the beginning stages of what to look at and what to acquire,” board Vice Chairman Stephen Klotz reminded the audience in the conference room in the existing Buchert Road municipal building.

Commissioners, Wagner, his predecessor Rodney Hawthorne, and most township department heads have long complained about the building’s inadequacies. The police force of more than 20 people is crammed into a space originally envisioned for less than half that number. When the board wants to hold an executive session, its members amble down a hallway to meet in the former assistant manager’s office.

Having made the recommendation to commissioners to buy the three parcels at 2258 E. High St., 2238 E. High St., and 2255 Brown St., the Infrastructure Committee now has begun exploring how best to use them. Trips are being planned by committee members to “visit various municipalities and see what they’re doing” with their available spaces, Wagner noted.

The township also needs to keep its options open, Lopez said. The land would be suitable for a “police department and a park,” he observed, “or maybe we put the township down there (on East High) and keep the police department up here (on Buchert).” And there’s one thing on which commissioners generally agree, Klotz indicated: expanding the existing building increasingly appears to be a costlier option.

Former Commissioner Tom Troutman, also in the audience, empathized. “Putting a band aid on this building is something I don’t agree with,” Troutman said. “Remember, the money you spend is our money,” Doyle added, in referencing township taxpayers. He asked that the public be made aware of board deliberations as they progress.

“It’ll become public knowledge as it goes along,” Klotz replied.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Feb. 5 meeting):

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