HAVERTOWN, Pa. (CBS) – Demolition has begun on a Delaware County landmark. The Swell Bubble Gum factory in Havertown is being torn down to make way for a YMCA. But the property the building is on is at the center of a dispute, which could cost the township millions.
The YMCA (pictured) will feature three pools, a wellness center, a family center and a grand atrium that can serve as community meeting space, according to CEO John Flynn, “We’re really excited to be bringing this new facility and service to that community.”
It’s just what township commissioners hoped for, during years of trying to acquire the property from its former owners, the Fenimore family. The Commission finally condemned the factory and paid the family $1.2-million to clear the way for the YMCA. But the family appealed the reward and the County Board of Review recently ordered the township to pay the family $6-million.
Township attorney Jim Burn has filed an appeal, “The property has been abandoned since 2003 and in really utter disrepair. It was an eyesore and a danger to the community.”
The Fenimores’ attorney says the township put up roadblocks to developing it. Otherwise the family would have done so long ago, although what it had in mind was a chain drug store and possibly a bank.
Reported by Pat Loeb, KYW Newsradio 1060