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Schuylkill County News

Source: Schuylkill County Eyes Former GIANT Supermarket in Pottsville for Prison Pre-Release Center

giant pottsville pre release prison

giant pottsville pre release prison

(Image: Coal Region Canary)

Schuylkill County officials are currently looking at the possibility of locating a prison pre-release center at the site of the former GIANT supermarket in downtown Pottsville.

The Canary learned Thursday that Schuylkill County is having the 2.1-acre property along Progress Avenue in Pottsville assessed before it considers purchasing the property from The GIANT Company.

GIANT closed its doors to customers for the final time on July 9 after 37 years in business.

Schuylkill County Considering Former GIANT Supermarket for Prison Pre-Release Center

The former supermarket makes the second potential location for a prison pre-release center that Schuylkill County has long desired. The County has been looking to build or open a pre-release center for about 20 years.

Schuylkill County Prison is routinely overcrowded and the county spends endless sums of money transporting and housing its inmates at other county lockups. We all foot the bill when these inmates are transferred to and from Schuylkill County Prison.

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Another potential location, according to our sources, is the soon-to-be former Schuylkill Transportation System depot in the Saint Clair Industrial Park. Land clearing is currently underway at the former Quirin manufacturing facility along Route 61 near Saint Clair. That’s where the county is planning to put a new STS depot.

Should the County go forward with this latest potential site for that prison pre-release center, it’s difficult to determine how much it’d spend for the former supermarket property.

This is what we found for a sales history on the GIANT property at the Schuylkill County Parcel Locator (Map Viewer):

giant pottsville sales history

Just like the County didn’t say boo prior to announcing plans for the new STS depot in Saint Clair, we don’t expect to hear anything from the County on a potential pre-release center until the ink is dry on the deal.

Not Part of the Plan

Building and opening a prison pre-release center in the middle of downtown Pottsville, if it were to be at the former supermarket property, surely would mar any efforts to revitalize the area. Of course, putting it in an active and busy industrial park doesn’t seem like a smart move, either.

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While the county will likely try to tout a prison pre-release facility as safe, it’s not uncommon for residents at these facilities to simply walk away. That’s not saying it definitely would happen at a potential Schuylkill County Pre-release Center, but the chance is there and putting such a facility in the middle of a downtown that’s trying to make an economic recovery doesn’t make much sense.

A prison would be last on a list of “Things Pottsville Needs” to make a comeback.


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  1. coalregion12

    July 17, 2020 at 9:01 am

    this building will be another Government Building, ie.-Tax Exempt. Keep on losing the tax revenue(Property tax) will be the deathknell for the City and PASD.

    • Canary Commenter

      July 17, 2020 at 10:59 am

      The one thing that bugs us about this potential deal is that it goes against the norm for land deals in Schuylkill County. Typically, they’d look to buy property from a political insider first. The only silver lining here would be that they wouldn’t offer some sweetheart deal to GIANT for the property, not like how they grossly overpay for downtown property.

  2. Mia Roberta

    July 17, 2020 at 12:33 pm

    Bringing criminals in a facility that has minimal security within walking distance of residential neighborhoods, housing projects, senior citizen high rise, childrens parks and playgrounds – yeah great idea – do any of the officials making these decisions live less than a mile from this potential site????

    • Guy

      July 17, 2020 at 2:28 pm

      you only ever worry about yourself Maria.

  3. Mark

    July 17, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Where is our so called mayor and city council through all of this? Did they even try to persuade the Giant Corporation to keep the supermarket in Pottsville?
    We have roads that are crumbling and more condemned buildings than you can count and all they are worried about is a dog park on Peacock Street.
    Vote them all out and get people in there who are truly concerned about the city and it’s residents.

  4. David

    July 17, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    How about we release all non violent offenders that will fix the crowded prison problem

  5. Ecm

    July 17, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    My guess that the property would cost 2 to 2.5 million and the county would invest another 5 to 6 million to convert it. I’ve never seen an administration spend like they do. All they know is tax and spend. As a republican,that goes against my principals. Who would of guessed our county was republican controlled for the past 8 years?

    • Canary Commenter

      July 17, 2020 at 9:53 pm

      Hard to tell the difference around here, especially among most local politicians. You’re probably low-balling the figures on the property. 2.1 acres in downtown Pottsville … probably $5-6 million. A doctor’s office on N. Centre recently sold for $550k. As for construction of a prison building, we’ll be lucky if the feasibility study and planning costs another $5-6 million. Look at the price tag on the new STS building … astronomical.

  6. Jason Bourne

    July 17, 2020 at 9:26 pm

    See, you gotta stop voting for the same ol’ thing. The people who run this county our corrupt and “out of touch” city council and chamber of commerce. We have bootlickers like the appropriately named “Boots” Hetherington. We need to give them the boot. Younger people with ideas need to start running to save this county. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

  7. D Murphy

    July 17, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    I say put the so called prison any industrial park in Saint Clair. But more important I think everyone in Schuylkill county needs to stand up to the Politicians Judges all elected officials!!!vote them out and hold them Accountable all the money we pay to this county and nothing gets done but the money disappears and nothing is done about it.all the Shady Thievery going on at the court house they get away with it.wouldnt we all love to have jobs like them and never be held accountable.. but most of us have morals.we have to do something or it will keep going on and we the people will pay for it or they will take your house Attach your pay take everything you have so they can pocket all of it.i even think we should Protest Often until it stops.

  8. John hirschfeld

    July 18, 2020 at 12:47 am

    Why not.
    Rumor has it that a megans law parolee apartment is open at the 300 block of market. Next to the grass lot across from the library.

  9. Michael Ryan

    July 18, 2020 at 7:58 am

    How about the mayor and city council of Pottsville? What have they done for this city? They talk about downtown revitalization but what do they have to show for it. The roads are horrible and condemned buildings are falling down. Low lives hanging out at all hours and nothing is done. What a dump. oh, but wait – we have a new parking garage being built. For what? The Yuengling brewery tours. Vote them all out!

    • Canary Commenter

      July 18, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Fair point. But this is a County issue.

      • Mark

        July 18, 2020 at 12:59 pm

        Yes, but it is the city administration that is allowing this pre-release center to be located in this building. Is the area where the Giant located zoned for such Use

        • Canary Commenter

          July 18, 2020 at 3:10 pm

          The City really can only try to influence the County to not purchase it. It’s up to Giant as to whom they will sell it. Giant will likely take the first legit offer it gets on the property. This is a situation where the people really need to speak up against this plan before it gains any more traction.

  10. Ellen

    July 18, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    The city of Pottsville takes a few steps forward and then a Giant Leap backwards!!!

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