(VIDEO) Ford City to Decide Ownership of Park Property

Ford City Borough Council was taken off guard last night when they discovered they may not own the piece of property they were attempting to give away to Manor Township.

FORD CITY – Ford City Borough officials last night debated over a giving a piece of property to Manor Township. The problem? Ford City is not certain they own the property.

Manor Township Supervisor Donald Palmer wrote a letter February 18 that was read at last night’s Ford City public meeting. According to the letter, Ford City had contacted Manor Township about taking over Fort Run Park, located adjacent to the Ford City Area Sewage Disposal Authority property, at no cost.

“Manor Township supervisors are attracted to and eager to accept the conveyance of the park assuming there are no unsettled obligations,” the letter read in part. “We sense that this will provide us with the opportunity to offer township residents a variety of activities for children, adults, and community-oriented events. Please advise us what it will take to bring this to fruition.”

Council President Carol Fenyes said that Manor Township Police Chief Eric Petrosky works with children and felt he would put the park “to good use.” She said that in a meeting with township supervisors, Palmer spoke of approaching the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for upgrades to the park.

Ford City Solicitor Alyssa Golfieri explained procedures to donate Fort Run Park to Manor Township, but couldn’t confirm the Borough actually owned the property.

Council Vice-President Tyson Klukan said the park is approximately 3.4 acres and asked Solicitor Alyssa Golfieri of the law office of Babst, Calland, Clements and Zomnir in Pittsburgh to explain the procedure for donating the park. Golfieri said that it could be conveyed with stipulations that it always continue to be used at a park. However, she was concerned if it was ever dedicated as a park, and this would have to be decommissioned before conveyance.

“If there has been a formal dedication, we would need to confirm with the Attorney General that we could transfer that park to another municipality. We would have to go through the process of ‘un-dedicating’ it,” she said.

However, a question of ownership came up from the audience. There was discussion that since it was adjacent to the sewage authority property, that the Ford City Area Sewage Disposal Authority actually owned the park. It was said that the property was being used as a park, but was actually available if the authority needed to expand its facilities in the future. If this is the case, Ford City would have no jurisdiction to do anything with the park property since it is not owned by the Borough.

The information came as a surprise to council members, who now must go back to county records to determine ownership.

Former councilman Jerry Miklos criticized Council for not doing its homework before moving ahead with discussion on conveying the property to Manor Township.

According to Klukan, the sewage authority property and park are actually located in Manor Township and not in Ford City Borough.

Council agreed to research the deed and report their findings at the next public meeting.