Argall Calls Pre-Release Prison at GIANT Site a “Major Setback” to Revitalization
State Sen. Dave Argall joined the cause opposed to a pre-release prison at the site of the former GIANT grocery store in Pottsville.
In a letter addressed directly to Schuylkill County Commissioners Chairman Boots Hetherington, Argall called the idea “a major setback” to revitalization efforts in Pottsville.
“As you know, many of us have been working together have been working with the City of Pottsville’s elected and appointed officials, the Pottsville Redevelopment Authority, the Pottsville Area Development Corporation and more than 70 community stakeholders in revitalizing the downtown business district. Our goal: to bring back the City as a hub for services, entertainment, and restaurants. County use of this site would be a major setback to all of our efforts,” Argall writes.
Argall Opposes Using GIANT Site for Pre-Release Prison
Argall asked Hetherington to “reject any purchase of the GIANT property for the pre-release center or other County use.” He also said, “I stand prepared to assist you in finding another site for his purpose.”
Last week, we first reported that Schuylkill County planned to purchase the former GIANT store, which closed for good on July 9, with the hope of putting a long-desired pre-release prison center at that site. That news got met with strong publish backlash – though some seem to be in favor of the idea – and a public petition campaign opposing it.
In a report appearing in the Republican Herald newspaper, Hetherington confirmed the property is on a list of pending County purchases.
Many plan to voice their displeasure with this plan at Wednesday’s Schuylkill County Commissioners virtual meeting.
Argall says the plan for the County to purchase the former grocery store goes against all other planning and funding currently in place for revitalizing downtown Pottsville. In his letter to Hetherington, Argall says, “Two separate $1 million state grant investments are now assisting important projects identified by well-attended public stakeholder meetings to directly support zoning changes, demolitions plans, property purchases, parking garage construction. New federal grants have been invested in the PADCO revolving loan fund to assist new and expanding business plans, business development and marketing/programming events.”
Argall adds one of the main goals of downtown Pottsville planners is a new hotel. Certainly, the 2.1 acres which GIANT currently owns would make an ideal spot for a new hotel. He says an “investor lead group” has already been formed to get that project going.
“This has been a long-time goal,” Argall writes.
Read the full letter below:Scan from the Senate of PA