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Study: Nothing in soil to hinder Packerton Yards development

Published September 24. 2010 05:00PM

There is no prehistoric or historic archaeological resources in the soil at the former Packerton Yards.

During the Carbon County Commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said that the county received the results of a geomorphological evaluation at the 59-acre site in Mahoning Township and Lehighton.

"The good news is that there is no potential that the soil contains any prehistoric or archaeological resources," O'Gurek said. "There is nothing down there that would be a hindrance to any development and the bottom line from McCormick and Taylor, (the company hired to complete the study), which they will be reporting to the state is that no additional work is needed."

A report of the findings have been sent to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission for review. Carbon County can now move forward with the development of the land.

Carbon County was forced to spend $21,891.89 to complete the study as a result of a 2006 court action filed by Thomas Zimmerman IV of Nesquehoning against the county. Zimmerman told the court about the archaeological and historical significance of the property.

The state historic preservation office then sent a letter to Carbon in March 2010, stating that a phase 1 archaeological investigation must be completed on the site.

In June, the county moved forward on hiring McCormick and Taylor to complete the study.

At that time, O'Gurek and Commissioner Charles Getz spoke out about how they felt the study was just costing the county money that it shouldn't have to spend.

The industrialization of the former Packerton Yards site has been in the works since 2002, when Getz and O'Gurek included the project as part of their campaign.

On Feb. 25, 2005, the county purchased the site from Joseph and Betty Zaprazny at a cost of $350,000.

Since then, the board has worked with state and federal officials to secure millions of dollars in funding to use for developing the site.

In a related matter, four members of the Carbon County Constitutionalists submitted a letter asking O'Gurek to provide information and case law that states that the county's decision to develop Packerton Yards into a business park is constitutional.

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