Fish and Boat Commission sells part of Hereford Manor
ERIE — Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission officials say they remain committed to bringing a lake back to the spot where there were once two in Beaver County.
But they're selling off some of that property in the meantime.
On Tuesday, commissioners agreed to sell 53 of the 449 acres that make up its Hereford Manor Lakes site in Franklin Township.
Commissioners sold 16 acres to Abarta Oil and Gas for $200,000. The parcel was appraised at $3,668 per acre or $58,688 total.
Abarta agreed to pay much more in return for the commission agreeing to give it up to two more years to harvest oil and gas from underneath the entire Hereford Manor property. Its non-surface lease agreement was to expire Nov. 4, 2016.
The commission retains the oil, gas, coal and timber rights, said deputy executive director for administration Brian Barner.
The commission sold another 37 acres to the Zelienople Airport Authority for $148,000, or $4,000 per acre.
Both parcels are located south and southwest of State Route 288 and Lake Road. The 396 acres north of those roads — which is one big parcel — remains under ownership of the commission. It's there where it once had two lakes, Upper and Lower Hereford Manor. Both were drained in 2011 after being deemed high hazard unsafe dams.
Commission officials have said they hope to rebuild one lake at the site for fishermen, but have been stalled by a projected $12 million cost. A local “Restore Hereford Manor Lake” group recently kicked off an effort to raise local funds.
Rocco Ali, a board member from North Apollo involved with that effort, said selling off a part of the Hereford Manor property will not hurt those plans.
“This land is not used and is not needed and is not important to us in our ownership of the land moving forward. The sale of it is very good for us,” Ali said.
Commission president Ed Mascharka of Erie County agreed, saying the two purchasers will make better use of those pieces, while the commission gets some revenue.
The commission bought the Hereford Manor site in 1973 for $341,000.
Commissioners also gave final approval to a couple of others changes in Beaver County. They made the lower section of Little Beaver Creek, from the mouth upstream to the state line, a slow, no-wake zone, and prohibited the use of gas engines on Brady's Run Lake.