From Out of the Blue, a Surprise Contact to Lower Pottsgrove

SANATOGA PA – Lower Pottsgrove commissioners spent much of their Thursday night (Oct. 22, 2020) meeting time talking, in one form or another, about the township’s proposed municipal campus. They interviewed an engineering firm as a potential construction manager. They heard about coming steps to obtain project financing. They wondered aloud when their architect would return with a final project budget.

And then, in the session’s final minutes, township Solicitor Charles Garner Jr. added one other thing.

From out of the blue this week, Garner reported, he received a call from an attorney representing a client – no names were mentioned publicly – who expressed interest in buying the assembled parcels of land (at top) where the township proposes to build its combined administrative offices and enlarged police station.

The client, according to the caller, has commercial development in mind that may work on that site. Would the township, the caller asked on his client’s behalf, be interested in selling its vacant properties at the corner of East High Street and South Pleasant View Road?

Maybe, commissioners ultimately replied. It took awhile, though, to reach maybe.

Garner said he explained to the calling attorney that the township to date had invested significant sums over a period of many months to reach the point where, possibly by next January or February, it could put the municipal campus project out for bids. It would need to recover those costs – for real estate, planning, drawings, consulting, engineering, and related expenses, as well as countless hours spent by township staff – and surely more to make a deal worthwhile, Garner suggested.

The caller was undeterred. Would commissioners consider an offer?, he asked.

Garner told commissioners he was “legally obligated to bring the matter to the attention” of the board. It was an “untimely request,” he acknowledged, given the township’s progress on the campus. And then Garner essentially repeated the question: would they?

“Well, I wouldn’t say no,” commissioner, Finance Committee chairman, and certified public accountant Bob Mohollen responded. “They could blow us away with an offer. I’d certainly entertain it.”

“I’m willing to listen,” board President Bruce Foltz added. Foltz then went around the conference table, querying remaining commissioners Michael McGroarty, Ray Lopez, and Vice President Earl Swavely. Back came general agreement.

And with that, Garner said, he’d talk with the attorney again.

File photo by The Post