Shamokin eyes municipal parking lot for new store location
SHAMOKIN - Is tax revenue greater than parking revenue? That's the question for Shamokin City Council, which is in receipt of an offer to sell the municipal lot for construction of a business there.
During a special meeting Monday night, Code Enforcement Officer Rick Bozza informed council the Dollar General chain is considering building a new location for their store on Independence Street, the prime location being the municipal lot at Rock and Washington streets.
"They looked over a number of sites and that was the best one," Mayor William Milbrand said. "The only other site we thought would be big enough was across the street from City Hall."
"That would be big enough for the building, but not for parking," Bozza said. "They want an area they can put their own parking lot in, not having their customers cross the street or parking at meters," Bozza said.
The 50-space lot is mixed between metered parking spots facing Independence Streets and permit parking spots behind them. The site once was the home of the Reading Company Station, where the last train from Shamokin left approximately 50 years ago, ending passenger train service in the area.
The store already operates at 30 E. Independence Street, with other locations in Coal Township, Trevorton, Elysburg and Mount Carmel. The Shamokin location is the only one that does not feature off-street parking.
When discussing how much the lot is used, council noted that the heaviest use is from Shamokin Youth Basketball League games at the American Legion Building.
"We don't get any money from the SYBL to utilize our lots," council member Barbara Moyer said. Most games are played in the evening when meter time does not apply.
Milbrand asked council to mull over the idea until the workshop meeting next Monday. It is hoped that council will give Bozza permission to have the property appraised to give a property value to Dollar General.
"They are very interested in the property. I think I am getting a call every day from them about finding a location and their desire to stay in the downtown area," Bozza said.
In other business, council passed a resolution to add additional funding to the Early Intervention Grant with the Department of Community and Economic Development and to allocate $5,000 in local resources to the project. The grant will help with the city's multi-year financial plan and management review to help the city get out of financial trouble.
The resolution was approved on a 4-0 vote with Milbrand, Moyer, and council members Charlie Verano and Dave Kinder voting yes. Council member R. Craig Rhoades was absent from Monday's meeting.
City council also approved motions to purchase property at 14-16 E. Willow St. from the Northumberland County Tax Claims Bureau with community development block grant money for spot blight demolition, and for Lynn Dixson, community development officer, to attend the 2014 CDBG conference in State College March 31 and April 1. Both motions were approved on a 4-0 vote.
Milbrand was appointed as the designated agent for the city on the Shamokin Creek Project. That vote was 3-0 with Milbrand abstaining.