2018-10-06 / Front Page

Hearing Oct. 11 in Arbo case

A downstate judge will hear arguments in Potter County Court at 10 am Thursday, Oct. 11, on an effort block Borough Council from selling a one-third acre section of the Coudersport Arboretum.

There’s little chance that Senior Judge J. Michael Williamson will grant the injunction to block the sale, as requested by a group of local citizens who filed the petition, but he’ll provide them with a forum to make their case.

Borough Solicitor Dan Glassmire has filed objections on behalf of Borough Council. He has described the citizens’ petition as “frivolous,” pointing out that Council’s bid specifications already require that any sale be subject to court approval. Galeton attorney Mike Plummer, on behalf of local real estate developer Tom Majot, has also filed objections. Majot was the only bidder on the parcel. His offer was tabled by Council at its September meeting.

Meanwhile, the Friends of the Arboretum will be a visible presence on Saturday, Oct. 6, during the Falling Leaves Festival and Outdoor Show at the courthouse square.

That group’s treasurer, Georgeanna DeCarlo, reports that Ann Feldman, who led a successful citizens’ campaign that blocked the sale of a cherished park in Downingtown, will appear on Saturday. Opponents of that sale prevailed in a lawsuit that went all the way to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Majot is offering $352,500 for the .35-acre parcel on the corner of Rt. 6 and South West Street, currently occupied by the park entrance and a historic railroad caboose.

Councilmen George Hults and Todd Husson voted to accept the bid and consummate the sale. However, members Brian Ruane, April Castano, Gary Walaski and Wayne Hathaway supported the motion to table it.

Majot has been seeking to acquire the parcel for upwards of three years to accommodate expansion of the adjacent Sheetz business, located on Majot’s property.

Potter County Redevelopment Authority has offered the borough a lot on South West Street across from the borough office, to relocate the caboose and other park features that would be displaced if the sale goes through.

Under the plan, landscaping and seating areas would be established at the new site. The remainder of the park, including the Military Veterans Wall of Honor, would not be affected.

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