Colebrookdale Township set to sell Liberty Park, township's only park

Photo by Lynn A. Gladieux Liberty Park in Colebrookdale Township.
Photo by Lynn A. Gladieux Liberty Park in Colebrookdale Township.

By a vote of four to one, the Colebrookdale Township Commissioners voted on May 5 to submit an offer of $130,000 to the Berks County Redevelopment Authority for the purchase of Liberty Park.

Commissioners Todd Gamler, William Spade, Barry Baus and Daniel Ritter voted to sell the park to the county after receiving an appraisal of $170,000 for the parcel. Commissioner Linwood Bartman voted no.

Township Manager Cindy Conrad said Township Solicitor Jeffrey Karver was expected to formally submit the offer to the county on May 6.

Located at N. Reading Ave. and Rothermel Street, the park has been owned by the township since 1989, when the county awarded the township with an $80,000 grant to purchase of the park. The park was originally owned by Liberty Fire Company, who used the site for their annual carnival.

County representatives approached the commissioners last month about the possibility of purchasing the 1.5-acre park for the purpose of building a new magisterial district justice’s office on the site. The county plans to build three new MDJ offices this year.

Gamler announced at the April 20 township meeting that the commissioners would seek community input before any decision about the sale of the park would be made. Despite notices on the township’s website and Facebook page, input was minimal.

The parcel, which is home to a pavilion and bathroom facilities, has been used by residents for various activities over the years. It is currently slated for rental through June.

Bartman said after the meeting he voted against the sale because it is the township’s only park. “The park isn’t much but it’s what we have,” Bartman said. “It’s a place for residents to go to have a picnic. I wouldn’t be so against selling it if we could find something better, but I’m not sure that’s going to end up happening,” he said.

In other business, the commissioners agreed to send Officer William Hanna to a three-day crash reconstruction seminar slated for September 23 through 25.

The event, run by the Pennsylvania State Police, will be held in State College, and is free of charge. Total cost to the township mileage and hotel accommodations will be $216.

Police Chief David Viola said oral interviews for police candidates will be held Wednesday, May 7. There are currently seven candidates vying for an open position within the department.