Discovery building owner set to appeal denial of its razing

A building developer who wants to raze the Discovery building, a former YMCA dormitory at 343 W. Fourth St., soon will appeal City Council’s decision in Lycoming County Court.

“We will be doing that (this) week,” said Daniel A. Klingerman, president and CEO of The Liberty Group, a business partner with Herman Logue, who is the building’s owner and who recently was denied council’s permission to have the building demolished.

Klingerman recently offered to buy back the building from Logue and sell it for $1 to city Councilwoman Liz Miele, who has an interest in preserving it.

Miele said she is trying to locate a contractor to renovate it and spare the structure, which was opened in 1923 as a boy’s dormitory for the Williamsport YMCA.

The building was damaged during deconstruction of a portion of the YMCA to make room for the Liberty Arena. The building became unsafe after it was hit by the contractor, Klingerman said. Utilities, including heat, water and electrical systems, have been stripped.

Miele said she believed it might be worth salvaging and is upset Klingerman didn’t try to make it a business office and apartment complex.

Meanwhile, a YMCA in York remains operational and is unlike the dilapidated Discovery building.

“A firm in York has done recent renovation at the York YMCA, and the building has similarities to the Discovery building, and it remains a YMCA,” said Jason Fink, executive vice president of the Williamsport/Lycoming County Chamber of Commerce.

The Williamsport building is on the National Historic Register, according to Miele.

The National Historic Register doesn’t have detail if the city building is on its list but the application, filed in 1984 or 1985, cites 1985 as the year it became part of the National Register.

As the YMCA was going through various activities with their expansions over the years, it was never required to go before the Historic Architectural Review Board for approval of any building items.

The national YMCA organization in that era had a design standard that is unique for YMCAs during that period.

The building is on the edge of the historic district, not in it, said Mayor Gabriel J. Campana.

The building’s owner wants to take the structure apart and then plant grass on the lot, said Joseph Gerardi, city codes administrator.