Old Roaring Spring house to gain new life

ROARING SPRING – Roaring Spring’s yearslong struggle over a decaying house came to an end, with the sole bidding team – the Borough Council president and a business partner – taking the Victorian home for themselves.

The so-called “Williams property” on New Street is the first of three borough-owned lots to be sold successfully, with two others delayed for a lack of sufficiently high bids. Bill Brumbaugh, who heads the council, and associate Bradd Kurtz made the only bid on the seized house, which failed to draw attention at a prior sheriff’s sale.

Brumbaugh and Kurtz spent $8,000 on the Victorian-style house at 600 New St., which for years drew borough authorities’ attention as it fell deeper into disrepair. Brumbaugh said he hopes to fix the home and resell it – likely for many times the purchase price.

“It was a no-brainer,” Brumbaugh said Monday.

By last year, when code officers filed a dozen nuisance charges against the empty home’s owner, birds had taken up residence and teenagers were using the house for illicit parties, council members said. James F. Williams of Woodbury, who owned the property, pleaded guilty in March and agreed to pay a $2,000 fine.

“It looks horrible from the outside,” Brumbaugh said.

Authorities planned to sell the once-attractive house at a sheriff’s sale this year, but there were no takers. The borough then took the Williams property and, in late October, advertised the lot for sealed bids.

On Monday, Borough Council members opened the only bid: Brumbaugh and Kurtz’s $8,000 offer. The council approved the bid with Brumbaugh abstaining; under state ethics rules, officials can’t vote on a ruling from which they would directly benefit.

The $8,000 purchase more than covers the borough’s costs for policing and maintaining the abandoned property, council members said. Workers had boarded up windows and provided temporary fixes to keep the house from mandatory demolition.