New Castle News

Closer Look

March 6, 2013

County to buy lot with building in Wampum

NEW CASTLE — The Lawrence County commissioners plan to buy a piece of property in Wampum Borough to gain egress to a stream.

The commissioners generally agreed Tuesday to purchase a parcel of land at the corner of Main Street in Wampum and Route 288 near the Wampum Run Bridge, which is scheduled for replacement next year by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

A wooden building once used to store train baggage stands on the land, which runs alongside railroad tracks. The property is owned by Samuel Kelly of Wampum.

Lawrence County planning director Amy McKinney told the commissioners Kelly is willing to sell the property to the county for $30,000. The purchase would benefit the county completing its greenways and trails plan that was developed in 2008.

PennDOT is in the process of replacing the Wampum Bridge and has agreed to help the county get access to the stream, McKinney said.

She explained after the meeting that currently, there is no safe access to the stream on that side of the water for people in New Beaver, Wampum or North Beaver to use the river to fish or canoe.

The stream is tributary of the Beaver River.

That area is also where the North Country Trail comes through town and is identified as a point in the county’s greenways plan, McKinney said, adding Wampum is designated in it as a hub where people gather.

PennDOT has agreed to do some work on the property to make the access safe, as long as the property is county-owned, she said.

“They would like the county to own it,” McKinney told the commissioners. She has met with county solicitor Thomas W. Leslie, who is writing the deed.

She said the building on the site will not be torn down. Rather, it could have multiple uses, such as for canoe rentals, art shows and other activities.

The funds for the purchase would come from the county’s Act 13 Marcellus Shale Legacy Fund, McKinney said.

The plans also include sending a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to apply for reimbursement of half of the amount.

The commissioners said they would consider voting on the agreement at their regular meeting next week.

Dan Vogler, chairman, noted he is a member of the Wampum Revitalization Committee.

(Email: dwachter@ncnewsonline.com)

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