FARRELL, PA. County weighs buying building instead of putting up a new one

The city has spent $18,000 getting a site ready.
FARRELL, Pa. -- Mercer County might not build a new office for District Justice Henry Russo at Spearman Avenue and Roemer Boulevard.
The county is looking at buying a building owned by Primary Health Network at Fruit Avenue and Roemer Boulevard instead, said county Commissioner Kenneth Seamans.
The news caused some concern for Farrell Mayor William Morocco, who said the city is counting on the county to build an office for Russo, whose current office is on Mercer Avenue in Hermitage.
Land bought and cleared
The city has spent about $18,000 buying and clearing land, including razing a house, for the project, the mayor said, noting it was the county who approached the city with the building plan.
The city wants the new construction, even though as a county-owned property it wouldn't generate tax revenue, he said.
Having the county buy and move into an existing building isn't a step forward for Farrell, particularly if Primary Health should close its operations there, Morocco said.
That won't happen even if the building is sold, said Jack Laeng, Primary Health executive director.
No deals have been made, but Primary Health is discussing the feasibility of a sale to the county, he said, adding that the building is larger than the county needs for a district justice office and Primary Health would still maintain health-care facilities there.
Seamans said he thinks getting the Primary Health building could be a "win-win" situation for the county and the city.
If the building can be secured at a reasonable cost, renovations could be completed quickly and Russo could relocate there before winter, he said.
Help with costs
The fact that some Primary Health tenants would stay there would help pay for the cost of the building, he added.
The county is talking to Primary Health but has to have an appraisal done to determine the value of its building before any firm negotiations can take place, he said.
In the meantime, the county is still having designs drawn for a new building at Roemer and Spearman so it can be ready to move on that project if the Primary Health deal doesn't work out, Seamans said.
The county is looking at a cost of $300,000 for a new building.

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