HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– A potential change for the Pennsylvania State Police Headquarters is a step closer to happening.
Quicker response times, revitalization of unused property, and new tax revenues, all appear to be greenlit in a consolidation effort from Wyoming and Forty Fort to Hanover Township.
“Everybody makes out, first of all, by having more public safety in our town,” noted Hanover Township manager Sam Guesto.
Having state troopers in your backyard never hurts, but there’s much more than that going into a project that would move Pennsylvania State Police Troop P from an outdated facility in Wyoming to a brand new major facility in Hanover township.
The building would come complete with a new headquarters and training facility with indoor and outdoor training ranges. The proposed site also puts troopers closer to major highways, which means better response times for more communities.
“For example, I live in Bear Creek and if you call the state police now, you really don’t know when to expect a response,” said project developer George Albert. “It could take anywhere from half an hour to an hour to respond.”
Albert noted those times could be cut by as much as 15-30 minutes for those who rely on state police presence.
Monday night’s Township Commissioners meeting secured a 5-year LERTA tax abatement in order to fast track the project. That’s good news for the township because the property, just off Route 29, has not been a source of tax revenue. In fact, it hasn’t been used for years.
“That piece of property, in particular, has been a property that’s been looked at by other developers but due to the fact that it was utilized back in ’72 for Agnes flood homes and flood demolition, as a dump site–it can’t bear the weight of certain types of structures,” added Guesto.
The tax break will allow state police to better remediate the land and put up a long-lasting facility– one that brings in revenue and makes the community safer.
“The township is really going to benefit over the term of this project to an amount of approximately $700,000 so it’s a big investment for everybody at the end of the day,” noted Albert.
The cost of this project is estimated to run more than $15-million, but that includes investments from purchase to remediation and up to the opening of the proposed 55,000 square-foot facility.
The five-year tax abatement agreed on in that meeting is half of what was requested, so all parties are trying to expedite this process.
State police have an aggressive goal of getting the center up and running by the end of 2020. The new HQ would consolidate over 130 state troopers as well as supply construction and other jobs.