Bellefonte hopes to speed Armory purchase

CDT photo

Bellefonte officials want to close on the National Guard Armory property in the next two months, borough Manager Ralph Stewart said.

Borough Council passed an ordinance Monday to pave the way for the borough to borrow the money required to pay for the property. The ordinance is a requirement under the Local Government Unit Debt Act.

Stewart said the borough plans to market part of the property to a developer to get it back to the tax rolls and generating money, and another portion could be used to move a social service office such as the police department.

“That has always been part of our thinking, is to move at least the police department,” he said. “(It) has been the strongest candidate for moving to that location.”

The property, at 1081 Zion Road, is zoned highway commercial, which allows for all retail businesses, hotels, motels, professional offices and supermarkets. Bellefonte bid $750,555.01 to purchase it from the state late last year, outbidding Centre County government by about $20,000.

Stewart said the borough will attempt to package the property to a developer to start raising money before any service agencies move. He is hoping the money generated from the property development will help pay for the purchase of the land.

The council’s building and property committee is overseeing the project, and is looking to hire a consulting engineer to provide advice for possible uses. The engineer will also provide a structural analysis of the buildings.