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State seeks to sell portion of veterans home grounds

The state is offering for sale a total of 124 acres on the grounds of the Hollidaysburg Veterans Home for potential commercial development.

The two tracts — 111 acres uphill behind the complex’s buildings and 11 acres across Municipal Drive — were identified by the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs as “surplus,” according to Troy Thompson, spokesman for the Department of General Services, which is handling the potential sale.

The offer is “part of a larger effort to divest excess land to save commonwealth agencies and taxpayers’ expenses associated with the upkeep and maintenance of underutilized (property),” stated DMVA spokeswoman Joan Nissley in an email.

Bids are due by 3 p.m. July 27, and there has been “interest in both properties,” Thompson wrote in an email.

He couldn’t provide particulars, because it could “affect the bidding process,” Thompson said.

Bidding opened March 29.

Township officials regard the potential development of the property as “beneficial,” said Supervisors Chairman Dave Burchfield.

The township does not have zoning, although it requires “certain things” to comply with its subdivision and land development ordinance, Burchfield said.

“It’s not just free rein,” he said. It might be challenging to develop the larger tract, which extends all the way back from behind the home to I-99, because it’s “mountains and fields,” Burchfield said.

Development there would likely require lots of excavation, he said.

“But nowadays, it seems as though the moving of mountains is possible,” he said.

The smaller property is located between the entrance to Small Tube Products and a rail line that crosses under I-99 behind the big property, then crosses Municipal Drive at grade, Burchfield said.

The state subdivided the lots in 2018, according to Silke Morrison, township secretary and coordinator of planning and development.

Bidders for the properties can view the DGS “solicitations for proposals” by going to www.dgs.pa.gov/realestate, then clicking on Surplus Real Estate,” according to Thompson.

Mirror Staff Writer William Kibler is at 814-949-7038.

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