Petition against Spring Garden Twp. municipal complex grows

Nearly 1400 residents have signed a petition to seek alternatives to a new building.

Junior Gonzalez
  • A petition against the creation of a multi-million-dollar complex has garnered nearly 1,500 signatures.
  • The proposed municipal building in Spring Garden Township may cost as much as $21 million.

A petition against the creation of a new municipal complex in Spring Garden Township is approaching 1,500 signatures ahead of the next township Board of Commissioners meeting.

Shawn Schlenz speaks during a Spring Garden Township Board of Commissioners meeting on March 8, 2017. There is currently a lively debate going on in the township about the need for a new, combined municipal complex.

The petitions, created by the group Friends of Spring Garden Township, has garnered more than 500 signatures online and, as of April 3, had 894 signatures on paper, according to the organization’s website.

“Concerned residents have asked the Board of Commissioners to develop more economical alternatives that accommodate essential police and administrative services but minimize projected costs and the resulting tax burden,” the paper petition states.

The idea for a new complex, which has been mentioned in one iteration or another since 1999, was met with heavy resistance at the Spring Garden Township Board of Commissioners meeting in March.

Municipal complex debated at Spring Garden Twp. meeting

Sean Clark, a member of Friends of Spring Garden, said the group has delivered petition fliers to approximately 90 percent of the township and is receiving signed petitions daily from residents.

“We’re getting close to 1,500 signatures,” he said.

“What’s really aggravating people the most is why this is needed,” said Clark, who called the project “more like ego gratification than a project to fit our needs.”

The latest plan would build the municipal complex on a 56-acre property already owned by the township, located at 1799 Mount Rose Ave.

The new facility would house the currently split facilities, which include the recreation and police department building, located at 340 Tri Hill Road, and the administration building at 558 S. Ogontz St.

Clark said residents are not opposed to improving the facilities.

“Our position is that the police and township should have better working conditions,” he said. But the current plan, which may cost as much as $21 million, “just doesn’t seem very responsible,” Clark said.

Clark said if the existing building on Tri Hill Road was demolished and rebuilt, the added cost for civil engineers and placement of power and plumbing lines would not be as severe.

Spring Garden Township designing new complex

“If we took that route, the police would remain centrally located, they’d get the facility they want, (we) would save money and keep the recreational space,” Clark said.

In September, township officials contracted an architectural firm to complete a feasibility study that will give an estimate of the building’s cost. At the March meeting, the preliminary study estimated the new municipal campus with a gymnasium would cost local homeowners 1.132 mills.

For a home assessed at $171,700, the rate would amount to an additional $194 per year in property taxes, according to an FAQ document on the proposal on the township’s website.

In a voicemail left to The York Dispatch, Clark said he plans to attend and speak at the next Spring Garden Township Board of Commissioners meeting, scheduled for 7 p.m. Wednesday at the municipal complex, 340 Tri Hill Road.

Clark said he is hopeful the community can win the battle.

“Hopefully, we collect petitions and the voice of our community gets louder. There is an election in November,” he said.

“I’m not making any threats, I’m saying this is a hugely unpopular standpoint for the commissioners that are for it. I think it would be foolish to continue (the project),” Clark added.