Well, sports fans, the game continues. No, the ol' one is not referring to spring training baseball or his beloved Philadelphia Phillies or his equally beloved Reading Phill-ies.
It's the game that features Rite Aid vs. Caernarvon/Berks Township and Rite Aid's plans to demolish the block on Main Street, in downtown Morgantown between, Mulberry Street and Morgantown Road. We're still in the early innings but it's getting interesting.
What must be kept in mind is that Rite Aid is before the township's Planning Commission presenting its plans to construct a spanking new Rite Aid pharmacy on the site currently occupied by the Morgantown Hotel and Buy Rite Beverage.
As far as the ol' one can tell, as he is trying to keep score, once Rite Aid meets the objections and fulfills the requirements of the Planning Comm-ission, then the game goes over to the township's Board of Super-visors for their final approval or disapproval.
That's all well and good, and that's the procedure that has to be followed: planning commission meetings, first; board of supervisors meetings, second. And, these meetings are for public business and, therefore, open to the public, along with the opportunities for citizensËœconcerned or otherwiseËœto voice their opinions.
So, at the last Planning Commission meeting, an interesting point came up. The question was asked why Rite Aid is ignoring the historical significance of the block.
Rite Aid's attorney, a Mr. Mooney, replied that while the buildings are certainly old, they are not on the register of historic places. Roseann Thomas, a longtime resident of Morgantown who is quite active in the community, disagreed with Mr. Moo-ney and suggested that he go to the Web site of the National Register of Historic Places, where the block in question is listed as a historic place.
Wow! That was a clean hit up the middle for Mrs. Thomas.
So, the ol' one took Roseann's lead, brewed up a cup o' joe, and went to the Web site she mentioned to take a look for himself. He typed in "National Register of Historic Places."
Yup. There you'll find, toward the lower right of the screen, "Reference Desk." Click on "find listed places," which will take you to "Using the NRIS." Then click on "state and county," type in PA and Berks County and you'll be whisked to the listing for every site in Berks County that has made the register.
Scroll down to No. 79, and, SURPRISE! There you'll find listed "Mor-gantown Historic Dist-rict." Next to it is a description of the area on the register which reads, "Roughly, area surrounding Main Street between Walnut and Washington streets in Caernarvon Township." The Morgan-town Historic District was placed on the Nation-al Register of Historic Places on Nov. 7, 1995.
Sure enough the block between Morgantown Road and Mulberry Street is right smack, dab in the middle of Morgantown's historic district. Appar-ently Rite Aid and its developer, Stonerook&-Co. of Lancaster, weren't aware of this little fact.
Interestingly enough, the National Register's standards for listing a property or an object as a historic place include "districts, sites, buildings, structures and objects that possess integrity of location, design, setting, ma-terials, workmanship, feeling, and association, and that are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past, or that embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction.
Hmmm...at the least it seems to the ol' one that this historic block in Morgantown somehow has met a few of these criteria, otherwise it would not have made it on the register. Wonder how Rite Aid and Stone-rook feel about that?
So what's the score so far in this game? It looks like it's still nothing-to-nothing, but Rite Aid is starting to get a few hits. This cannot bode well for the home team.
More of the home team must get into the game and go to bat for this historic block. The next meeting of the Caernarvon/Berks Town-ship Board of Supervisors is tonight, Tuesday, Mar. 14. The next meeting of the township's Planning Commission is Thursday, March 23. Both meetings are held at 7:30 p.m., at the Caernarvon/Berks Township Building, at the corner of Main and Chestnut streets, which just happens to be in Morgantown's historic district. There is always time on the agenda for comments from the public-at-large. So, go and say something like, "Why is this project going forward when the township can explore options available to it in the Penns-ylvania Municipalities Planning Code?"
And, if you haven't already, keep those letters going to: Mary F. Samm-ons, President and Chief Executive Officer, Rite Aid Corporation, 30 Hunter Lane, Camp Hill, PA 17011, phone: 717-761-2633.
This is a game that Morgantown and the region can not afford to lose.
Contact Ol' Morgan at olmorganonporch@