DUBOIS – Plans to turn the former Rockwell playground into land for as many as five homes, but at least four, for low and medium income families seems to have reached a dead end as DuBois City Council voted against giving their encouragement for the program at the Monday night meeting.
Habitat for Humanity of Clearfield County and Community Action of Central Pennsylvania approached the council for a motion to donate the former playground for housing development, or at least give encouragement if they should continue with the plans. While the council seemed to be in favor of the plan in theory, several problems began to present themselves.
“It would be nice to see some plans,” said City of DuBois mayor, John “Herm” Suplizio in the beginning of the discussion.
Initially concerned about the property, the uncertainty became more concrete as representatives for Habitat for Humanity and Community Action talked it over with the council.
The land in question rests in between between Dock Street and Water Alley, which brought forward the first problem. Dock Street, the ideal road to base the properties off of, itself had been vacated in 1963 and currently is owned by North Central Enterprises.
“The City of DuBois can’t compel re-dedication for a vacated area,” explained City Solicitor Toni Cherry adding that it would be up to North Central to provide the road of their own will.
This would leave using a stretch of Water Alley the former park runs along as the only road usable for the potential houses. The stretch in question hasn’t been maintained in years, and until explained the residents of the properties it runs on the backside of used it there was doubt whether it physically existed beyond just on paper.
The second stumbling block that came up in regards to the former playground came down to zoning. While both parties remembered the old park, currently the ground falls under industrial zoning. For a home to be built on the requested land it would need to be proven that it was unfit for industrial and then for commercial use.
“You are in the wrong place,” said Cherry.
It was theorized that in the years between being a playground and the current state the zoning laws had been created.
“I don’t know if any of us have a problem,” said Suplizio, but stated that the council didn’t want to encourage the plans going ahead and money potentially wasted with so much stacked against them already.
It was with regret the council voted against the measure.