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CAEDC-Cumberland County agreement could help sell more land

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If Cumberland County and the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. enter an agreement to manage the sale and development prospects for 80 acres in Middlesex Township, it could turn into a long-term agreement to help the county sell off other parcels, CAEDC CEO Jonathan Bowser said.

"There may be additional land the county wants to sell off or develop," he said.

Bowser on Thursday presented the county commissioners with a proposal for CAEDC to act as the real estate agent for 80 acres of agricultural land on Army Heritage Drive after the county began getting multiple inquiries about the three parcels there.

"People were calling the commissioners," Bowser said. "They were calling staff. They were calling our office, and we said, 'Whoa! We need to centralize this.'"

This morning, CAEDC received more than 15 emails from people inquiring about the properties, he said. Developers and other companies are interested in the land for recreational, light industrial and other uses, and there have been a few proposals, but Bowser said he couldn't disclose what those were or who made them at this time.

CAEDC and the county could have an agreement signed in the coming weeks, he said. That would include forming a development committee similar to what CAEDC used to market the former state land in East Pennsboro Township known as the Summerdale Tract.

The committee would include county, CAEDC and township officials to review proposals for the 80 acres, he said. They would also look at what is the best deal for the land, including sales, leasing or leaving the parcels as they are. Development of the properties would require rezoning.

CAEDC has been acting as the real estate agent for other properties, including the Hotel Carlisle, also in Middlesex Township. That 37-acre property and business was put on the market last month by its owner Farouk Hegazi, who plans to retire.

The county has been discussing selling land to get it back on the tax roles as part of efforts to shore up its budget and avoid additional tax increases.

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