Three government buildings in need of some decisions

It makes sense. It’s probably overdue. And it’s never too late to do the right thing.

The Lycoming County Commissioners have announced plans to sell the Executive Plaza at 330 Pine St. in Williamsport. The building houses county services as well as some private tenants. It includes unoccupied space and many of the private tenants have left. In other words, it’s under-occupied.

Not far away sits the Third Street Plaza, a 140,000-square-foot building that houses some county services but has three empty floors comprising about 71,000 square feet. In other words, it’s under-occupied, and the commissioners indicated they will consolidate county services in that building.

And just up West Fourth Street about three blocks sits Williamsport’s City Hall building, with its own share of unoccupied space.

The commissioners recently delayed appraisals on Executive Plaza, and there is disagreement over acquiring an adjacent parking lot that has been leased to the county by the city for $1 for 99 years. That’s fine. We just hope the commissioners move ahead on the idea, whose time has come.

Commissioner Rick Mirabito says city government officials have talked to the county about the Executive Plaza building. There is agreement about whether it’s correct to take the parking lot and sell it to the private sector after the city virtually gave it to the county.

We think the responsibility of our elected leaders is to get the deal that makes the most sense on behalf of taxpayers and the future of that area. That could mean private development. If so, no one should be deterred.

Or would it make sense for city government to simply move all of its offices to Executive Plaza and sell the City Hall building, the former home to federal court and the Post Office with historic significance and value?

It’s certainly worth discussing.

When it comes to government buildings, taxpayers cannot afford and should not be made to pay for underused structures.

As it stands right now, there are three under-occupied buildings being used by city and county government.

So everything should be on the table regarding the future of all three buildings.

One way or another, there is a sale waiting to happen for one of the buildings, hopefully generating revenue from a private entity for one of these governments.

It should have happened long ago, but we will settle for it happening in the not-too-distant future.

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