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Lansford's search for new borough offices continues

Published August 12. 2010 05:00PM

Lansford continues to seek help in finding another home for its borough offices, but it's not getting much in the way of assistance.

The borough office is currently housed above American Fire Co. No. 1 in an aging red brick building at 26 E. Patterson St. the office is cramped and not accessible to the physically handicapped. The zoning, code enforcement office and police station are housed in the community center on Ridge Street; public meetings are typically held there, too.

Council needs to find a new home soon - and be frugal about it.

Borough leaders in July wrote to House Speaker Keith McCall, Congressman Paul Kanjorskim, and the owner of a borough real estate firm. While they received replies from all three, they didn't receive much in the way of help.

Aquilla Realty president Nicholas J. Totani Jr. declined to donate his Lansford building, but said he'd shave 10 percent off the sale price and make a "sizable cash donation" to the borough if they bought it. He also suggested the borough seek grants to help it buy a building.

McCall also suggested seeking grant or low-interest loan money through several sources, including a Local Government Capital Project Loan program, the Monroe County Local Share Account and the Community Revitalization program.

Kanjorski warned the borough that "securing federal grant funding for this type of project is extremely difficult."

Still, Lansford is continuing its quest. At a July 22 Facilities Planning Committee meeting, fire company officials and council members and others discussed whether refurbishing the old building was feasible. The building needs a new roof, doors and windows, and there are concerns with its crumbling facade, sidewalks and steel supports.

The committee discussed U.S. Department of Agriculture low-interest loans of up to $100,000; the state also offers 2 percent interest loans. Council president Bob Gaughan suggested having the borough engineer inspect the building to determine how much it would cost to rehabilitate. he suggested forming an ad hoc committee with three council members and three fire company members, and then meeting again sometime in August.

In the meantime, the fire company will draft a list of goals and plans, a sort of 10-15-year road map.

Gaughan wants to see an emergency management agency built into any new building. The group discussed the possibility of buying a portion of the adjacent former Panther Valley Middle school parking lot in order to expand.

The committee meets next at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 16 in the borough office.

In other matters Wednesday, council:

*Appointed Marie Ondrus to the Parks and Recreation Commission;

*Approved, after tweaking, specs to demolish properties at 614 and 11 E. Patterson Street;

*Approved a letter of support for a $1.7 million Lansford-Coaldale Joint Water Authority project grant application. The project will refurbish and paint the borough's 1.5 million-gallon storage tank, build a new 715,239-gallon storage tank, replacing the 125,000-gallon storage tank in Coaldale and replace the water main along East Abbott Street in Lansford. Councilman Tommy Vadyak opposed, saying the project was a waste of money.

*Agreed to pay $775 to replace the radiator on the street sweeper.

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