Collins family releases alternative plan for the borough to follow instead of the eminent domain of The Outbound Station

Joe and Barbara Collins have released an alternative plan for the Borough of Conshohocken to follow regarding the possible eminent domain of their property at 2 Harry Street, which is The Outbound Station building and tenant The Couch Tomato.

On February 2nd, Conshohocken’s Borough Council voted 6-0 to advertise an ordinance involving the eminent domain of the property. On February 16th, the borough council plans to vote on whether to move forward with the plan to take the property.

Below is the text of what is described as “The Collins Plan.”

Leave the Outbound Station alone. Stop the eminent domain process.

Purchase the property around the Outbound Station for a realistic, negotiated price. It is already for sale. You can see the signs that have been posted since December.

Streamline the existing 30 +/- space parking area, make improvements to the green areas, and expand it by removing the jungle of vegetation at the northeast corner of Fayette and Elm Streets.  It is the home of nuisance animals and an incubator for spotted lantern flies.

These actions would accomplish all of the stated desired outcomes the borough has expressed.

1. Public Purposes. The station building would be used for a public purpose, operating as the Couch Tomato Cafe, an amenity for the community.
2. Public Open Space. This would be addressed with the green area and the cleaned up jungle area used as a park.
3. Recreation. The bike trail is used by thousands per week and this would be a complement to that.
4. Public parking. The unused parking lot on that property already exists.

In doing all this, a win could be had for all. The Collins family would remain owners of this building that’s been ours for more than four decades, the land around our property that is up for sale could be purchased for a realistic price and put to good use, and the Couch Tomato Cafe would operate as an anchor of  the area for many years to come.

As pointed out, the text of the proposed ordinance for the eminent domain of the property really describes uses that aren’t appropriate for 2 Harry Street, but actually describe the surrounding parcels that are under different ownership.

In the text of the ordinance, the potential uses of the Outbound Station property are described as follows:

The property interest condemned herein shall be for public purpose only,
including, but not necessarily limited to, public open space, parks,
recreation, and public parking.

The Outbound Station parcel is just under 5,000 square feet. It just consists of the building, the outdoor seating area, and the three parking spaces. The surrounding parcels include some green space, a grove of trees, and a parking lot with approximately 35 spaces.

Let us know what you think in the comments.