Good Move, Hanover
So while the news about the KClinger’s closing resonates, some positive news has come out of the borough. The finance committee voted last night to pay a third of the cost of a feasibility study regarding whether a heritage and conference center would work downtown. The borough will split the $21,535 cost with the Hanover Area Chamber of Commerce and private funding, I guess from Scott Roland, the developer behind the idea.
When the topic originally came up in October, I worried that the borough would pass this opportunity by. It seemed at the time that some members of council thought funding the study would put them on the hook if the project went forward and failed. Thankfully, that silly notion has mostly gone by the wayside.
Hanover Borough Council President John Gerken said the borough’s involvement is minimal and that concerns about funding for a center and who would own it are premature.
“This (the study) has nothing to do with ownership. This is just seeing if it’s feasible,” he said.
Gerken said the borough has to do what it can to help the downtown and that a heritage and conference center would be a good addition.
“People are going to go to other places (downtown) and spend money,” he said. “This is going to encourage business downtown.”
Unfortunately, not everyone got the memo. Councilman Sonny Eline is so upset about this proposal, he said he might make a motion to rescind hikes in garbage, sewer and water rates if council approves the funding.
If you just said “Huh?” you are not alone.
Beyond the “I’ll take my ball and go home if you don’t do what I want” notion behind that idea, I don’t see the point. Is it to take money away from the budget so that the borough can’t afford this? Would he harm the public works budget just to prove a point?
He says he wants downtown revitalization without taxpayer expense, but that’s impossible. The re-development of downtown will require lots of public investment – police, fire, roads, utilities. The borough paying some of the investigation into whether this project is worth the time, effort and money makes complete sense.
I don’t know, but it just seems petty to say you want Hanover to move forward and then try to block an attempt to move Hanover forward because it wasn’t your idea. I’m sure the secret is hidden within a private Facebook group somewhere.
Anyways, that snark aside, it’s a real positive step for council to lend a hand in this effort. With several key buildings vacant downtown and active interest in the form of Roland, the time is right. Seven grand is a drop in the bucket, as councilman Henry McLin states, if even a small amount of business comes out of the study.