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Wetlands classroom license agreement approved

February 8, 2012

The Elk County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a license agreement with the West Penn Power company for the West Creek Wetlands classroom with the condition that the electricity magnate approves the construction of restroom facilities.
"Back in 2005, the county commissioners negotiated a license agreement with the Elk County Industrial Development Authority to use a property on West Creek Road as a location for a wetlands classroom," said Tom Wagner, solicitor for Elk County's Board of Commissioners. "Since that time, the property involved has been conveyed by the IDA to the West Penn Power company and they have been working with the county diligently to renegotiate the terms of the lease.
"[West Penn Power] had some concerns about restricting access to the property and while they don't have any facilities now, at some point in the future they anticipate having a substation there. On the other side of the coin, the original license was only for 25 years. As part of the negotiations, we sought to extend that license for an additional five years. We got down to what I thought were final terms of the agreement but there are some concerns with the agreement."
Concerns from the Elk County Conservation District include weekend use and the erection of restroom facilities.
"One concern is that there is a group of Cub Scouts seeking to use the facility on weekends but the agreement is worded that it provides for use from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays through Fridays," Wagner said. "It also provides in here that it can be used at other times provided that the users submit a request to the county in an effort to keep track of who's using it.
"I don't think that's a bad idea even though I know it creates an administrative burden on organizations that want to use it, but the county has a responsibility there, so I think we all probably want to know who's out there."

Pick up a copy of the Thursday, Feb. 9, 2011 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.

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