In an interview with WFMZ-TV, Schuylkill County Commissioner George Halcovage dismissed the idea of the County definitely buying the former GIANT supermarket property for a pre-release prison.
Instead, he suggests Schuylkill County may be interested in buying the property to create more office space for government employees.
That’s like a 1b in a list of bad ideas for the former supermarket.
Halcovage Says County Needs More Office Space Due to COVID-19 – Buying GIANT Could Help Alleviate Situation
Halcovage blamed social media rumors that suggest the County definitely wants to put a pre-release prison on the site of the former GIANT. However, we’ve not seen any posts suggesting that the plan was a definite.
To that point, when confronted with public backlash, mostly from Pottsville City Council members and leaders in the city’s business community, Schuylkill Commissioners didn’t deny any of these plans.
An online petition created the day we broke the story on the County’s interest in purchasing the property merely looked to thwart the idea of a pre-release prison. In fact, most people signing it suggested the property not fall into government hands as that would remove its tax revenue potential for the County, the City of Pottsville, and Pottsville Area School District.
The embattled Commissioner told WFMZ-TV this week, “We have people that are working in offices who are pretty much on top of each other and because of COVID you gotta spread out.”
Halcovage admitted that the County inquired about buying the property the day after GIANT closed. But no offer has been made on the property, which is owned by Winstanley Enterprises LLC, of Concord, MA.
Schuylkill County Government Keeps Growing
If the County does purchase the GIANT property for either a prison or expansion of office space, as Halcovage suggests is necessary, there’s one result that stays the same. Our local government keeps growing.
It’s odd that a Republican-majority County government would advocate for the expansion of the size of government. But sometimes it’s difficult to tell who’s a Republican and who’s a Democrat on the local level.
Schuylkill County currently already owns 10 properties within Pottsville city limits. Outside of the Courthouse and Prison, they account for nearly $25,000 in lost tax revenue to the City, alone. That doesn’t factor in the lost revenue to the local school district and the County, itself.
Instead of being the first party to jump at the chance of buying it, County government officials should stand back and see if there’s any interest from private business – who could help replace the lost revenue from GIANT closing – in purchasing the former supermarket property.
You can watch the full story from WFMZ by clicking or tapping here.
- Pottsville Officials Clap Back at Schuylkill Commissioners Over Prison Plans
- Argall Calls Pre-Release Prison at GIANT Site a “Major Setback” to Revitalization
- 500+ Sign Petition to Stop County Purchase of GIANT Supermarket to Build Pre-Release Prison
- Source: Schuylkill County Eyes Former GIANT Supermarket in Pottsville for Prison Pre-Release Center