Is the for sale?
After months in which the controversial property on 700 Zucksville Road has been Forks Township's hottest topic, a new twist developed at Thursday night's Board of Supervisors work session.
Township Manager John Cornell said a Hunterdon County, N.J.-based developer wondered whether it could purchase the property and then lease it back to the township for 15 years.
Facing a $23,000 expense to rehabiliate the cottage and to save it, township officials have put off making any decisions about the vacant cottage, which was built in 1945 and would cost the township about $9,000 to demolish.
The Forks Area Art Society and the township's historical society have expressed interest in using the cottage for meetings and displays. A was formed last month to raise funds and rally residents to spare the building.
Cornell told the board that the township wouldn't want any long-term maintenance issues and that any deed should restrict the cottage to limited usage.
Supervisors Chairman Erik Chuss said following a break between the work session and regular meeting that the township isn't interested in any offer at this point.
"Someone asked if we were interested in selling the cottage and the land," Chuss said. "We're not."
Chuss had said at the work session that maybe the cottage should be placed on the agenda for discussion.
But Supervisor John O'Neil balked, stating that "several people are trying to raise money so I'd rather give them a shot at it first."
"Especially since we've been leading them on," Supervisor Robert Egolf followed.
Chuss said he is still awaiting word on whether officials with the Career Institute of Technology might want to help save the building.
Egolf also asked why a report has been undertaken to see what mold is in the cottage.
"I'm really concerned about that," he said. "I don't know, but it could be asbestos."
Public Works Director Mark Roberts said he would find out costs for a mold examination.
O'Neil, though, stated that something must be done soon to determine the cottage's fate.
"The winter months will take more of a beating on it," he said. "It will become a money pit."