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South Williamsport, PA
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County Hall Corner: Moving On

Stress is caused by an event that results in an upheaval from the norm. In stress inventories, death of a spouse always tops the list, followed by other troubles such as losing a job or coming down with a serious illness. But also high on the list is moving a living habitation, which obviously grows

Stress is caused by an event that results in an upheaval from the norm. In stress inventories, death of a spouse always tops the list, followed by other troubles such as losing a job or coming down with a serious illness. But also high on the list is moving a living habitation, which obviously grows in intensity based on how much is involved in the move.

So it is safe to say that the proposed sale of the Executive Plaza building at 330 Pine Street, where a large bulk of the county’s operations are conducted, with a corresponding move of these operations across the street to the Third Street Plaza at 33 W. Third Street, has produced a considerable amount of anxiety and apprehensiveness among county employees and those who use the county’s services. Besides the normal angst that anyone who has ever moved knows about, there is the added difficulty that the government does have the luxury of just shutting down while the move is happening. The show must go on!

Obviously, this will not happen overnight, but neither is it just something that is being talked about either. The County Commissioners released an initial timetable that gets up to the real estate appraisal phase, which is due by August 23rd. Two appraisal agencies, one from Lock Haven and another from Pittsburgh, are being used to determine the value of the Executive Plaza.

The actual sale will be through a broker service, and legal advertisements for broker serves were issued on July 16th, with the applications due on August 2nd. Mya Toon, Lycoming County’s Chief Procurement Officer, will then meet with the broker and determine the date of the sale and the means by which it will be sold. It may be by auction, by a real estate agent, or through Mya Toon’s normal bidding process that is used for county assets and property.

But even this somewhat straightforward matter of seeking appraisals ran into a snag, when at the County Commissioners Work Session on Tuesday, July 30th, George Girio, a local real estate broker and appraiser, questioned if the deadlines allowed enough time to get realistic figures on things such as the income and expenses for the building from the past few years which would impact pricing the building and how the sale should be marketed.

There is also the matter of the adjoining parking lot, which has been brought up in several meetings. It is owned by the city of Williamsport and leased to Lycoming County for $1, but whether this lease can roll over to the new owners would need to be clarified. Commissioner Mussare has mentioned on several occasions that he is also concerned about the 50 or so parking spaces that this parking lot provides in the evenings and weekends to downtown establishments. If this were closed off, it would be a serious detriment to patrons.

There will be a lot of moving parts as this process moves forward. For example, it is not just transferring the operations of one building to another, but since the Third Street Plaza has more space than the current Executive Plaza, the county is hoping to consolidate the county Children and Youth Services and Mental Health Services, which would save nearly a half a million dollars a year in rental and utility fees from its present location. However, since this operates under the Lycoming-Clinton Joinder, it will be up to their board to make the final decision.

So, the move is moving, maybe with the speed of a wounded turtle, but at least it is moving. Be patient, Lycoming County residents. As Abraham Lincoln once noted, “I might walk slow, but I don’t walk back.”

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