PHOENIXVILLE — With the new borough hall set to be built down on Bridge Street, the question of what to do with the old borough hall is now up for debate.
One local non-profit’s answer is simple: knock it down.
Steve Kambic, the executive director of Petra Community House, came before Phoenixville’s borough council at July 9’s meeting to pitch their idea for the grounds once all borough staff, council and police are packed up and moved out of the hall at 140 Church St.
“Our proposal is to develop this site, here, borough hall, and create affordable senior housing, affordable housing for persons with disabilities, and complementary offices,” Kambic said.
Petra would also construct a “pocket park” on the former borough hall grounds.
“Our method is to improve the community by making apartments,” Kambic said. “we want to create partnerships, that’s what we’re all about.”
As a part of Petra’s plan, the old borough hall would be sold to Petra and then demolished.
Kambic said Petra would like to do a joint appraisal of the property with the borough. Petra would then buy the hall at the appraisal price minus the cost of environmental remediation and demolishing the property.
Several voiced opposition to the joint appraisal.
“I caution the borough to do our own appraisal and our own estimates for the cost to do the demolition and environmental remediation,” Mayo said.
“I don’t think we can do this in a joint manner,” Mayor Leo Scoda said. “We own the property and we want to get the best value for the property.”
Some felt it might not be the best plan for the hall once the new one is constructed.
“I think this doesn’t serve the interests of the community,” Christopher Bauers, another council member, said.
Councilman James Kovaleski said he was the vice president of the board of Petra and would not be able to take part in any discussions regarding whether or not to follow through on Petra’s proposal.
The Petra proposal remains up for consideration by council and will likely be taken up by the borough’s properties committee.