Bids to tear down eyesore in city opened

By WENDY STIVER

wstiver@lockhaven.com

LOCK HAVEN — The lowest bid for demolishing the burned-out former furniture store at 37-41 Bellefonte Ave. came in at $64,499.

ADM Logistics of Port Carbon made that bid.

The highest of the bids was more than $300,000, but it was significantly higher than the others, City Manager Gregory J. Wilson told City Council at its Monday evening meeting.

The owners of the building, David Mayes and Brian Osenbach, have told city staff they will sign off on the demolition, Wilson said. Once their signatures are acquired, a special meeting of city council will be called so a bid can be accepted.

The building should come down within roughly two months after the contract is let.

If for any reason the owners do not agree to the demolition, the city will go to court to get permission, Wilson said.

The city transferred $107,000 out of its capital escrow fund to cover the cost of the demolition. It will place a lien on the property so that money can be recovered when the lot is sold. That money then must go back into the capital escrow fund, Wilson said.

The building burned more than a year ago, on Dec. 16, 2016. The roof is completely gone from the top story, and the structure has sat like that for close to 14 months. The city gave the owners until Jan. 12 of this year to do something about it. That date has come and gone, and the burned building looks the same.

Mayor William E. Baney III said Covenant United Methodist Church members will be happy to see some action. The church sits close behind the former Heilig-Myers Furniture store, and its exterior repairs have had to wait because of the potential danger the burned-out structure represents.

LIQUOR LICENSE

Council was informed that Weis Markets is seeking a liquor license to sell beer and wine in its Lock Haven store, at 313 W. Bald Eagle St.

However, council did not vote on whether or not this is a good idea. Wilson said the city has not been asked to approve it or not.

The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board stated this would be a new license, or a license transferred from a place that is no longer currently licensed.

Don Powers, owner of The Old Corner, spoke against the license, saying it is not needed and the city is over the PLCB “quota.” The quota is one license per 3,000 residents, according to the PLCB website. Lock Haven already has too many licenses, Powers said.

It is possible for municipalities to have more licenses than the quota, according to the PLCB website, because some are of long standing and are grandfathered in. In addition, the quota requirements do not apply to certain liquor licenses, including those issued for national veterans’ organizations.

The community does not need the Weis grocery store to sell beer and wine, Powers said, since there are two places that sell six packs in town, including his establishment and Hangar 9 which is near the Weis store. Both of the existing places are locally owned and managed, he added.

Granting a license to Weis would not bring in any new jobs, he said, or drive new demand for the products.

Powers also said the number from the application that has been posted in the Weis window allows online visitors to the PLCB’s website, at www.lcb.pa.gov, to see that the license under consideration is apparently the one from the former bar The Locker Room. That license expired in 2005, he said.

The information from the PLCB has been sent to the city solicitor, Wilson said. He would determine what, if anything, the city is required to do regarding the Weis application.

SUMMER FUN

The Summer Concert Series Committee has already planned out a summer of music, and now the bands and the dates need to be firmed up, the mayor said. This will be the 20th anniversary year of the concert series, he said. It started in 1998 with four concerts, and from 1999 on has averaged 24 concerts each summer.

Council approved contracts with Honey Dippers of LyCo LLC for portable toilets for $930 and GP Audio for sound system services for $550 per concert.

The concert series also has received a grant of $5,000 from the Clinton County Community Foundation and a donation of $2,000 from the Sons and Daughters of Italy.

The boat dock proposed for the Lock Haven side of the river also received a $5,000 Foundation grant and a $500 donation from the Sons and Daughters of Italy.

In addition, the Foundation granted $2,500 to fund lifeguard hours at the city beach this summer.

The 2018 Free Outdoor Movie Series has been set, with four movies on the program. The movies are shown Saturday evenings in Triangle Park on the big inflatable screen, starting at dusk. The schedule is:

r July 7 — “Leap!”

r July 21 — “Coco”

r Aug. 4 — “Sing”

r Aug. 11 — “Peter Rabbit.”

The movie series is sponsored by UPMC Susquehanna Lock Haven.

OTHER MATTERS

Equipment is being moved to the Second Avenue Garage, Wilson said, but moving the tools and the mechanics is waiting while one of the mechanics is out on surgical leave, Wilson said.

This year’s budget included $43,000 to be spent on further renovations of this larger garage. However, with the pending demolition of the former furniture store, Wilson suggested and council approved getting the $43,000 from the borrowing package that had been set up for these renovations.

This will allow a buffer in case unforeseen things are found during the pending demolition, Wilson said.

Council approved a contract with Fish Real Estate not to exceed $504 to show and qualify potential tenants for the former Caprio’s Market at 10 N. Hanna St. which the city now owns.

Lock Haven University has made its annual donation of $1 per student enrolled in the fall semester. This year the amount is $3,521. The university makes a donation in recognition of the services the city provides, including police protection and firefighting.

A memorandum of understanding between the city and the Clinton County Correctional Facility was approved. The city does not have a holding cell so it uses the jail’s facilities. The memorandum spells out that when anyone placed by city police in holding at the jail needs to go to the hospital, the individual is responsible for his or her medical costs.

The LHU Physician Assistant Program 5K was given permission to use the levee for the event, on April 14. Two representatives visited the council meeting and said the 5K will raise funds for the Pennsylvania Society of Physician Assistants charity which this year is a domestic violence center in Wilkes-Barre.

Sentimental Journey to Cub Haven Inc. was given approval to use Piper Airport for its two fundraising breakfasts this year, on May 6 and Sept. 23.

SPARK, which already received permission to use Triangle Park for an Earth Day event April 22, was given the nod to bring in two vendors, Sue’s Salves of this area and Vicky Shenandoah of New York State.

Council gave the nod to seeking bids for trash hauling, sludge hauling, and cleaning City Hall. Wilson said a custodian position is open, and he would like to see if contracting with an outside firm to take care of City Hall would be cheaper than filling the job.

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