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District Courts May Set Sights Elsewhere

A pending lease with Newtown Township and the county's district courts in Newtown Square may have fallen through.

NEWTOWN SQUARE–Last month Newtown Township was in the process of working out a # and #, in which a for the courts may have been this summer to re-locate to the second floor of the , but recent news shared by a few supervisors on Monday night's Board of Supervisors meeting appears that the pending lease may be no more.

Vice Chairwoman Linda Houldin said she spoke to Thomas Mahoney, director of administrative services for Delaware County last week and said there was "no room for negotiation because they found another place to go which was the old NBC building and were happy to go there."

Township Manager Jim Sheldrake also said he received the same response from Mahoney and Tom McGarrigle, county councilman, when he met with them last Wednesday, March 23.

Sheldrake said the original contract between the township and county included a cost figure of $21.34 per square foot of the building for lease. According to Sheldrake, the figure was proposed by the county but was "pulled off the table for some reason."

"They were the ones that said the $21.34," clarified Sheldrake. "We were going back and forth, and back and forth verbally. The paperwork was sent from the county and the lease was ready to go and ready for our signatures."

During public comments resident Mike Gillin said he spoke with County Executive Director Marianne Grace last week, who told him "the ball was in Newtown Township's court," in which the county made an offer of about $19 per square foot. Gillin said the offer was left open for the township with a counter offer but the county did not hear from them.

But Chairman George Wood responded to Gillin's comment and said he also spoke to the county last week and simply said that was "not true." According to Wood, the new deal was set for $19 without much room to negotiate.

"We talked about some potential movement but it was only in pennies and we can't do it that low," said Wood. "I'm happy to go back and give it a try if it's [negotiation] still open. But at that number [$19 per square foot], we lose."

Reisdent Anne Coogan also spoke up during public comments and stated she works for the county as the county clerk and said, "there is always room to move" and believed the township had  "missed your chance."

Coogan said the topic for the district courts to search for a different location was scheduled on the county council's agenda for Tuesday's meeting.

The county's two district courts currently located in the Gauntlett Community Center is looking for a new location as the community center gets renovated.

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