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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Taj Mahal Would Serve Potter County For A Century

By James Jones

COUDERSPORT, Pa. - Tinted three-story windows and a gleaming brick exterior surround the granite pillars that frame the front doors of 102 South Main Street. Two large black-and-yellow billboards on the front lawn have bold letters reading "Bankruptcy Auction."

One of the last big pieces of the Adelphia Communications empire is up for sale.

The property with a suggested value of $30 million stands out on an otherwise typical small-town street. It's a building more likely to be found among the sprawling office parks of the suburbs of Philadelphia than this little northcentral Pennsylvania city.

"It's 72,000 square feet of brass, bronze, brick, granite," Todd Brown, Adelphia's director of facilities and fleet operations, said from the front steps of the building. "Basically it's the premier state-of-the-art building in Potter County."

Thats how the Associated Press article starts that was published yesterday in the nation's newspapers.

This building stands tall on Coudersport's Main Street and is refered to as the Taj Mahal. It was built to house 245 Adelphia employees. And now it's for sale, offered in an online auction, with a minimum bid of one million dollars. It's a beautiful building with everything state of the art, practically new, and ready for occupancy.

The Potter County Commissioners, busy trying to move into the former Adelphia School Building, they got from Time Warner as a freebee, are so preoccupied with this that they are missing out on the real bargain of the century, the Taj Mahal.

Potter County is on the verge of unprecedented expansion and prosperity. Empereon Marketing is soon to start hiring to replace the jobs lost when Time Warner shut down operations of the call center in the tennis center. Because of the massive job losses here, state and local government agencies from Governor Rendell's office and our senator and representative have been working hard to find other businesses to come to Potter County and provide jobs.

The secret is out. Potter County was selected as the 11th best place to live in the entire Northeastern United States. When the jobs come, and they will, people will come to Potter County to live. Already, a drive through the country roads, way back in the hills, will let you spot hundreds of beautiful new homes. Our population will increase and there will be a need for more county services.

State officials can see the writing on the wall. More roads have been paved in this area than I have ever seen. Lyman Lake has been rebuilt. Galeton's Main Street project is reshaping the Galeton area along with new water and sewer facilities. The Dark Skies program at Cherry Springs brings thousands to the area. The Austin Dam memorial project is a big draw. And the Geo Search program includes Potter County. A brand new modern SPCA is to be build here.

Oil and Gas drilling and production will add to the area's economy with new jobs and new tax revenues when the state restores the oil and gas mineral tax. Our trees, fields, and farms will provide materials for alternative energy like fuel pellets, and corn for bio-fuel.

Our major cities are crime ridden with drive by shootings, home invasions, and terrorist threats commonplace. People are moving to the country. The Poconos are full. Potter County is the next frontier.

This expansion will require more county employees to join the 176 now working. They need a decent place to work. The Taj Mahal is a beautiful building and could accomodate both a modern courtroom and office space for all the county employees. The present courthouse could be sold as an antique or turned into a museum so tourists could see how things were in the 1800's. The Adelphia school building could be a community college or a job producing business building, and the Roulette school building a business incubator for a small call center or other business.

Commissioners: Don't sell our county short by missing the crown jewel that would represent our county government for the next century. Why occupy an old school, when you could have the Taj Mahal for little more than a song. The bidding deadline is Oct. 11th. Think about it! Don't wait 'till its too late!

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