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Supervisors to Consider Returning WREC to School District

The loss of tenants and the expense of necessary renovations has made the building too costly for the township.

The ongoing question regarding the fate of Warminster's may finally be answered tonight at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

On the agenda for tonight is a resolution that authorizes township manager Rich Manfredi and solicitor Mary Eberle to close the building and return the property to the .

Manfredi said the Warminster Parks and Recreation Department took a hit last year when several tenants ended their leases and moved their operations to Leary Elementary. Compounded with the cost of necessary building repairs, including a new roof, has made retention of the WREC too expensive.

"Our current tenants are also getting hit hard by the economy," said Manfredi. "One of them asked us to reduce the rent by 50 percent, but we just cannot afford that."

Preparations are underway to relocate parks and recreation programs to other facilities in the township, such as the community room at the . Manfredi has been negotiating the acquisition of a 2,500 square-foot modular building that would be placed in Warminster Community Park.

"When the storage shed at ," said Manfredi, "a company in New Jersey offered us the unit. It was too large to accommodate our needs there, but the company agreed to sell it to us at a nominal fee for other parks and recreation needs."

The township will not receive any monetary compensation for the return of the building, but Manfredi hopes the move will give the Centennial administration more incentive to pay back $272,000 that he feels is owed to Warminster.

Warminster has held the lease for the former Hart Elementary school since 1988, but the school district maintained a reversionary clause for the property. The existence of this clause would allow the school district to take back possession of the property if either the township ceased using it for educational purposes or if Centennial demonstrated an imminent need for the space.

Fears of spending large amounts of money to renovate the building only to see it repossessed by the school district prevented any major work from being performed.

and between the two parties have been ongoing for years. In 2009, an agreement was made for Warminster to purchase the reversionary clause from Centennial for $1 million. Of the sale price, $272,000 would come from the waiver of zoning and permit fees for the construction of the new high school, and the remainder would be funded by an open space grant from Bucks County. The grant fell through, but the waivers were still enacted.

Since the reversionary clause was never sold to the township, Manfredi thinks the school district should pay the money back.

"That is a separate issue, though," said Manfredi. "The return of the property would not be held up by that matter."

Manfredi would also like to open discussions about using school grounds for parks and recreation programs, but communication between the township and Centennial has not been ideal.

"They won't talk about providing us space until we present a full proposal," said Manfredi, "but I can't compile a proposal until I know if they have space and how much we can get. We're talking in circles right now."

Centennial administrators were unavailable for comment at this time. 

Sarah Ronzelli September 13, 2012 at 12:17 PM
P. Krenshaw, Your total lack of knowledge regarding; motions, resolutions, waviers and variances is unbelieveable. You act like you have seen the sale and all related papers to the sale of the Wrec center. Well if this is the case, please share this information with myself and all others who are interested in this situation. You keep mixing apples and oranges to prove your point. Now please clarify.
Pamela September 13, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Sarah do you understand the difference between the "clause" and the actual building? The WREC building was not in negoiation, It was the 'reversionary" clause at a going price of $1M. The purchase of the building would have been another discussion. Do you not know that the SB offered Leary to the Township for $1M and REFUSED to go lower, but sold it to a DEVELOPER for $425K...How can it exist in your mind that CSD did no wrong? The township has tried to talk to the SB about renting space in the "mega" schools for WREC program and the SB is not being reasonable. No sane taxpayer would even trust the SB. Its not the townships fault that they thought they could apply for open space grants, only to find out that the property OWNED by the SD was already covered under open space..Why didn't the SB inform the township that they already had "open space" for the property...Because the SB got out of paying Warminster $272K in waivers and permits for the high school. They deliberately withheld vital information from the township....And YOU support these snakes....
Sarah Ronzelli September 13, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Pamels, Please inform me with your statement :Why didn't the SB inform the township that they alread had "open space" for the property? Perhaps, you are missing my point, i care about programs for my children and all other children in our Community! When I see problems with space for these program, it brings to my attention this whole situation which is up in the air as of this time frame. My children attend CSD and are getting a good education and if there were not, I would move to another SD. For you to state I am supporting the Township or the SD is not my goal, they can fight all they want. Just give me the facts and get the space for our programs and I do believe we will all be satified.
Pamela September 13, 2012 at 02:32 PM
The township has been trying to negoiate with the school board for space for WREC classes for years. The SB has no desire to cooperate. It is their way or no way. What would you like our township to do? pull a space out of thin air? This isn't something that just happened overnight, the township has been working on this issue since I moved here! Sorry to say unless you want to pay more taxes for the township to buy property outright, their options are limited without the cooperation of the SD, and most classes will probably be cut. My children also attend CSD, which is not the blue ribbon is used to be,they got rid of neighborhood schools where children were not a number and the good teachers that taught them. CSD is now quantity over quality, which is not why I moved my children here. Unfortunately the sale price of most properties in the township are nowhere near what is owed on them. I would love for a charter school to open, then I would have an option.
Pete Krenshaw September 13, 2012 at 03:20 PM
Sarah - so are you telling me a variance and a waiver are the same thing?? I understand you care for the needs of the children but you can not ignore the facts. I have been trying to communicate them to you in a way you can understand but it doesn't look like we will find success. I have not seen any agreement of sale and honestly, I don't think a formal agreement of sale was ever in place. As for apples and oranges, I have no idea where you are getting that from. It seems like you will only see it from one perspective. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and I am not saying your opinion doesn't count. But at the same time, you can not ignore the facts previously presented; not just by me but by the Township and numerous other people posting comments.

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