HONESDALE — People who live by a pond in Wayne County have been told if no one buys the property the pond will be drained.
They don’t want that and are trying to find a way to keep it the way it is.
Bunnell’s Pond is just on the edge of Honesdale borough, a short drive out Cliff Street.
About a dozen families live around the pond. It has new owners with new plans for the property which might not happen if someone else buys it first.
Angela and John Zerga moved to Honesdale several years ago, specifically to Bunnell’s Pond. The couple beams when they talk about the summers spent with their grandchildren on the pond.
“When I first saw this place I thought I was in heaven. It’s really beautiful place,” said Angela Zerga.
Then this month the Zergas and their neighbors got a letter in the mail from Rogue Investments, LLC; the new owner of Bunnell’s Pond. The letter says unless someone buys the pond, the company plans to drain it.
“When we first got the letter we went into total shock, we could not believe this place could be disrupted,” said John Zerga.
“I just cried because I couldn’t believe something like that could happen,” added his wife. “This is such a beautiful place where would all these animals and birds go?”
In that letter to neighbors, the new owners of Bunnell’s Pond say the pond’s dam is too costly to repair, so instead it would be more cost-effective to drain the pond and divvy up the land for development.
“I don’t know if I could stay here anymore, it wouldn’t be the same thing,” said Angela Zerga.
The previous owner, Stephen Putzi, said he’s been trying to sell Bunnell’s Pond for years. In 2004, he bought the pond, nearby land and the dam for nearly $700,000.
Then, he sold to Rogue Investments for $35,000 last year.
A quick internet search lists an address for Rogue Investments at 100 4th Street in Honesdale. It’s the Honesdale Professional Building, the same building Putzi owns and where he has an office. Putzi, however, denies any personal connection to Rogue.
Wayne County Commissioner Jonathan Fritz also lives next to Bunnell’s Pond and is working with others to find a way to keep the pond a pond.
“We’re going to do everything we can to better where we live. That’s a lake, it’s absolutely pristine and beautiful,” said Fritz.
State environmental officials said the Bunnell’s Pond’s owners would have to get approval to drain the pond then would need another approval to build on the dried-up land.
Putzi said has no financial interest in the pond now.