ssǝɹddns ɹou ɹɐǝɟ ɹǝɥʇıǝu plnoʍ ʎʇǝıɔos ǝǝɹɟ ʎlnɹʇ ɐ ʇɐɥʇ ƃuıʇnɔolɯnɔɹıɔ suıɐʇuoɔ ǝʇıs sıɥʇ

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Luzerne County seeks to own and operate a hill

The surreal gone sublime…

From the Times Leader: Historic park plan hits snag

Luzerne County did not receive a grant to buy land to create the historic Ashley Planes Heritage Park, so commissioners must determine if they want to come up with the money or scrap the project.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Ashley Planes is a series of steep inclined planes along state Route 309 toward Mountain Top. The planes were used from 1843 to 1948 to move millions of tons of coal from the Wyoming Valley floor to the top of the Wilkes-Barre Mountain.

The park has been on the drawing board for nearly a decade.

Commissioners agreed in 2002 to develop and operate the park. At that time, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation committed a $1 million grant to fund a parking area, kiosks explaining the site’s history and other amenities.

However, the state won’t fund land acquisition or turn over any funding until the property is owned by the county.

The non-profit Earth Conservancy will donate about 250 acres of its land to the project, but the county must acquire another 107 acres from the Reading Co.

The company had backed out of plans to lease the land to the county, which means the county would have to take the land through eminent domain, said county Planning and Zoning Director Adrian Merolli.

Commissioners applied for a $130,000 state grant to fund land acquisition last year, but the application was denied, Merolli said.

Ready? Here comes the fun part…

Commissioner Chairwoman Maryanne Petrilla said commissioners must discuss options.

Commissioner Stephen A. Urban said he has always supported the project and wants to discuss it at the next work session.

“We’ll have to look at our capital bond money and see if any residual dollars are available,” Urban said.

Residual dollars?

Uh, what of the now shuttered Moon Lake Park?

We cannot afford to operate the few county-owned parks we have now, we cannot mow the grass on the levee system without levying new taxes, so we should work towards creating a whole new park?

It must be me.


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