More than 500 people have signed an online petition to stop Schuylkill County from purchasing the former GIANT supermarket property in downtown Pottsville.
The movement started following a report from The Canary indicating the county wanted to purchase the property to turn it into a prison pre-release center.
Later Friday, Schuylkill County Commissioners chairman Boots Hetherington confirmed to the Republican Herald newspaper that the former GIANT store along Progress Avenue is on a list of pending purchases by the County.
But no more details were available. Hetherington would not say if the county plans to turn the property into a pre-release center.
Online Petition to Stop Purchase of GIANT Supermarket Gets 500+ Signatures
A pre-release center has long been a county government goal as it tries to ease persistent overcrowding at Schuylkill County Prison.
However, the idea is not sitting well with many.
In addition to signing the online petition at Change.org, some people have voiced their displeasure and disbelief with the potential purchase.
“Seriously?! This is detrimental to the downtown revitalization project and would certainly not add value to the goal of bringing small businesses and their families back to the community,” one person writes in opposition to the potential sale and plan for the property.
Another signer says a pre-release prison doesn’t belong in Pottsville. They write, “If the goal is to revitalize Schuylkill County, this is the worst idea. Build a prison and relatable facilities elsewhere, more or less, out of town away from people. Simple.”
And another petition supporter says the county owns too much property downtown already. This wouldn’t help.
“County currently operates in 40% of prime downtown area creating no funds or taxes for our city, we do not need a pre-release taking up property within our city limits,” they say.
Petition at Change.org
Want to add your name to the online petition? Go over to Change.org and voice your displeasure with this idea: STOP the purchase of Former GIANT as Prison Pre-Release Program
You can also let Schuylkill County Commissioners know you’re not supporting this potential land grab and prison construction by attending the next regular meeting on Wednesday, July 22 at 10 a.m. You have to dial in to the teleconference virtual meeting at 570-624-3971.