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House passes bill to sell Harrisburg State Hospital and 13 other state-owned parcels

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The state House Tuesday approved legislation to authorize the conveyance of much of the Harrisburg State Hospital and Farm property and 13 other state-owned parcels across Pennsylvania.

House Bill 1945, sponsored by Rep. Sue Helm, R-Dauphin, goes to the governor’s desk for his signature.

“It costs Pennsylvania taxpayers an estimated $6.3 million a year to maintain the State Hospital grounds, which includes many older buildings,” Helm said in a news release. “The time has come to sell off the property to private investors and get it on the tax rolls, which benefits local residents.”

Helm’s bill authorizes the Department of General Services to conduct a comprehensive survey of lands formerly known as the Harrisburg State Hospital and Harrisburg State Hospital Farm and now known in part as the DGS Annex Complex, located in Harrisburg and Susquehanna Township in Dauphin County.

Once the survey is completed, a conveyance plan will be prepared and submitted to both the House and the Senate that includes a recommended division of the property and the fair market value of each parcel. Upon receipt of the plan, the General Assembly will authorize General Services to convey the property and may add conditions or amendments to specific parcel transfers.

In addition, General Services will prepare other facilities to receive state employees displaced by the sale.

The measure also authorizes the conveyance of the following parcels:

• Penn Circle East right-of-way and the Hunt Armory in Pittsburgh, Allegheny County.

• Pine Grove Armory in Pine Grove, Schuylkill County.

• Blossburg Hospital in Blossburg, Tioga County.

Labor & Industry Careerlink building in the Coatesville, Chester County.

Berean Institute in the 29th Ward and Philadelphia Pier land lease in the Fifth Ward in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County.

• Washington Monument Park, Fort LeBoeuf Museum and Judson House in Waterford, Erie County.

Millersville University and Penn Manor School District land swap in Lancaster County.

Scranton Primary Health Care Center release of restrictions in Scranton, Lackawanna County.

• Benner Township partial release of restrictions in Centre County.

House Bill 1945 requires a covenant to be included in each deed that prohibits the use of the property as a licensed gaming facility.

The law would take effect immediately, with the exception of the conveyances of Washington Monument Park, Fort LeBoeuf Museum and Judson House, which would take effect in 60 days.

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