Stoffa Wants to Move Out of Wolf Building
Stoffa says Human Services workers can't stay in Second Street offices much longer.
Northampton County Executive John Stoffa says workers at the Governor Wolf Building need a new home.
Stoffa told county council Thursday night that conditions at the Second Street building -- which house several county human services agencies -- had become "an emergency situation" due to deteriorating conditions. Repairs could cost millions of dollars.
"We have to get out of Wolf," Stoffa said. "It's going to cost too much for us to stay there."
He wants to take human services workers from Wolf and the Bechtel building in Bethlehem, sell both properties, and put all DHS employees in one location. It's just not clear what that location would be.
"The problem is finding a building with 270 parking spaces. That’s the primary issue," the executive said.
Stoffa said a developer has approached the county about buying both buildings. He wants council to hold its next Human Services Committee meeting at the Wolf building to get an idea of the conditions there.
"Whoever owned that building…started on the renovations about then quit," said Stoffa.
Council members say the move is overdue.
"That thing's been an elephant on our back for years now," said Councilwoman Ann McHale, who suggested a move to the Lehigh Valley Industrial Park VII, which is close to Route 412 and Interstate 78.
Councilman Ron Angle said the best move may be to move human services to the Gracedale property in Upper Nazareth, but Stoffa said that move would take two or three years.
Also Thursday, council voted unanimously to approve a new lease for District Judge Gay Elwell, allowing her to move her court from its current Centre Square location to the National Building at 400 Northampton Street.
Elwell would move into the first floor office at the National, a space once held by the Morning Call. Council members wondered whether the county had explored other locations, such as the vacant Weller Center building on the 300 block of Northampton Street.