The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


July 6, 2013

Inn sits idle after $220G sale

NEW BERLIN — The sheriff’s sale of the Inn at Olde New Berlin property is done, but the future of the historic home is still a big question as it returns to the bank’s hands.

PNL New Era LLC, also the plaintiff in the sheriff’s sale, bought back the property for about $220,000 during the sale June 26 in the Union County Sheriff’s Office. Robert Schanck and Nancy Curtis Schanck are listed as the defendants in the foreclosure on the property.

There were a few bidders present, sale Joanne Boyer, administrative assistant in the sheriff’s office who manages the sales, but mostly people were curious to see what happened after media coverage of the historic property’s plight.

The bank retained Bowen Agency Realtors for the property sale, and the inn is on one of four land tracts, including three buildings and a large parking lot, worth $600,000 that were to be sold as a package.

Following a June 15 news story about the sheriff’s sale, The Daily Item and the county received numerous accounts from people of their memories and historic knowledge of the 107-year-old home that once served as a getaway for the wealthy and even a funeral home.

Among them was Connie Liddell, of Mifflinburg, who was born in the home.

“I would love to see someone go in there and take care of it, even take out some of the things worth preserving,” such as the old wood flooring, if possible, she said.

The sentiment is appreciated, especially during this, Union County’s bicentennial year. But there isn’t anything the county could do as far as taking on the inn as a historic property, said Commissioner John Showers, who, with wife Nancy, made the Inn at Olde New Berlin, a bed and breakfast and celebrated restaurant, a star attraction of the borough.

“There are other more historic properties that would be of more value to the county,” Showers said.

Another historic property would be a lot for the Union County Historical Society to take on, said Elaine Wintjen, an administrative assistant there. The society owns the Dale/Engle/Walker House, on which the Merrill W. Linn Land & Waterways Conservancy has a farming easement that helps with the building’s maintenance and funding.

Juli Finkbiner, New Berlin Borough Council president, understands how Liddell feels.

“I’d hate to have New Berlin lose one more opportunity,” Finkbiner said. “I hate to lose something else and have it get dilapidated. That’s what worries me.”

Finkbiner said she’s kept an eye on the inn property, noting the weeds growing on it. “I’m wondering it would behoove us to get it, but it’s the money to fix the place,” she said. “We need to have someone buy it and use it to help the economy of the area.”

“We wouldn’t do it,” said Diane Lengle of the New Berlin Heritage Association. “We couldn’t.”

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