SPRING GARDEN TWP., Pa. - Township commissioners Wednesday rejected a proposed municipal complex that would have replaced the aging township offices and police station, and provided substantially more recreational space in the township.
Instead, the board will go back to the drawing board to figure out how to move forward on replacing those facilities.
“I can no longer support the development of the Mount Rose Avenue property,” Eric Lehmayer, the board’s president, said. “The development of any recreational fields and improvements at Mount Rose is clearly not in the best interest of our taxpayers.”
“I cast my personal vote for this; I cast my vote as a commissioner where I can no longer support this as well,” Commissioner Michael Thomas added.
Even as an overflow crowd forced the meeting to be moved to a fire company ten minutes away for a second straight month, a new municipal building will have to wait.
Some residents say the township could use more recreational space. The biggest space is at Reservoir Park, on the other end of the township near York College. But paying more in property taxes was something few apparently wanted.
“In my situation, having green space around your home is a desirable thing,” William Gellman, a Spring Garden Township resident who lives near Reservoir Park, said. “I guess the negative impact of that is people are talking about millage rates and doubling their tax, so that has to be balanced.”
Opponents say there are valid reasons to oppose additional park space, including ample recreational areas in neighboring communities.
“Recreation is the tail that is wagging this dog, so to speak,” Sean Clark, who organized the opposition to the proposal, said. “Demographically 40 plus percent of our population in Spring Garden is over the age of 50, so we're essentially asking everybody to pay double municipal taxes over the next couple of years to fund something that fully half of them won't use at all.”