Property Dispute in Williamsport

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A plan to replace a parking lot in Williamsport is being met with some opposition from a neighboring church.

The mayor wants to see developers build on the lot, but the church wants it to stay the way it is.

The parking lot and the grassy area next to it are up for sale. The city of Williamsport owns the property at the corner of Mulberry Street and Via Bella and Williamsport's mayor said developers want to build residential and commercial space there.

"Once Church Street Transportation opened up, we'd be able to sell it because we have enough parking," said Mayor Gabe Campana.

He said the city is asking for at least $250,000 for the parking lot and green space There. For Pastor Kenneth Elkin of Saint Mark's Lutheran Church, you can't put a price tag on the property's value to the community

"This land we're standing on is green now. We'd like to see it developed as green space, a park," said Pastor Elkin. He is concerned if someone builds on this parking lot in the city, drivers may have a tough time finding the church, because the alleyway is the only way to get in from any direction. "For the mayor, that's what he's seeing. He wants to see some sort of a building go up on lot H. I don't think it's the best for the city in the long run."

The mayor admits. It is about money. Saying the taxes. And potential jobs created by developing the property outweigh the church's interests in the land.

"We can't afford to give this property away for nothing. There are individuals who want mayor to give this property away for zero to a non-profit organization, that would be bad management. We're not going to do that," said Mayor Campana.

The mayor said he will present bids for the land to city council at its meeting later this month.