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New Hanover Supervisors Approve Purchase of Restaurant
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer
2022-06-08

            New Hanover's board of supervisors voted last week to purchase and demolish the Hickory Park restaurant. They voted to spend $100,000 in open space money to buy the two-acre parcel that fronts the park.

            According to township Manager Jamie Gwynn, the building, which is in a flood zone, will be demolished. He said during the June 2 meeting that flooding from last summer's Hurricane Ida destroyed the structure.

            Municipal officials will be sure to honor the history of the property, located at 2138 Big Road, according to Gywnn. He said the immediate plan is to enhance the entrance to the park.  "The building needs to come down," he said.

            The acquisition of a grant through the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection could be the key to completing the sale. The manager informed an overflow crowd that the township has applied for a $250,000 Greenways, Trails, and Recreation Program grant through the Department of Community and Economic Development. According to Gwynn, municipal officials should learn in   November if the grant has been awarded.  "I think we have a real strong case," the manager said.

            As part of the grant request, New Hanover is seeking $46,950 to remove two underground gasoline storage tanks, $55,095 for the removal of any contaminated soil, $62,000 for Act 2 Land Recycling Program Requirements, $8,000 for the restaurant demolition, $8,775 for parking lot repaving and $69,230 for future traffic improvements. The grant requires the applicant to provide a 15 percent match.

            According to Gwynn, municipal officials won't know if any soil needs to be extracted until the tank is removed. He said that if no contamination is discovered, the allocated funds could be put towards long-term traffic enhancements.

             Earlier this year, the discovery of tanks placed the township's purchase of the Hickory Park Diner in jeopardy. In April, the manager said the municipality was prepared to walk away from a previously approved agreement to purchase the building and surrounding 1.98-acre parcel near the intersection of routes 663 and 73. Gwynn said previously that the members are not willing to take on that kind of liability.

            The site, which operated as a gas station from 1942 to 1980, formerly maintained a 4,000-gallon and an 8,000-gallon tank. Both were closed in November 1989, according to a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment completed in December for the township by Advantage Environmental Consultants, LLC, a Collegeville firm.

            Gwynn said he suspects both tanks are located underneath a concrete slab near Route 73, which served as the gas island. A Phase II site assessment recommends that the two tanks and associated product lines be removed from the site in accordance with all local, state and federal regulations.

            In December, the supervisors voted to approve a motion agreeing to purchase the property – which is located near the bank of the Swamp Creek – from Hickory Park Restaurant, Inc. for $100,000. According to Gwynn, the plan was to clean up the area, redo the parking lot that leads to Hickory Park and deal with any related traffic issues.

            Township officials planned on knocking down the building that housed the diner, which closed two years ago amid the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement included a 90-day review, which was later extended by two months, until May.


 

 

 

 

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