Senate leader proposes sale of historic state residence at Fort Indiantown Gap

2 min read277 views and 53 shares Posted May 11, 2019

A new proposal from the senior Republican leader in the State Senate would see Pennsylvania sell the “State House” residence in Fort Indiantown Gap.

The Lieutenant Governor’s residence is a 2,400 square foot house that sits near Fort Indiantown Gap and has been in that office’s use since 1971, when it was first placed under the control of the Department of General Services.

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However, current Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman has never lived in the house, choosing instead to rent an apartment in Harrisburg. The last person to occupy the building was Lt. Governor Mike Stack, whose Pennsylvania State Police protection was stripped for considerations that he and his wife had verbally abused state employees while living there.

Lt. Gov Fetterman told one news outlet regarding his decision that, “symbolically, I believe it’s inappropriate, for lack of a better phrase, to have a public servant … living in a home that has housekeeping – and I mean, all these other things – when we’ve worked to eliminate people (having) their gas and heat shut off.”

For this reason, State Senator Joseph B. Scarnati III (R-25) has proposed selling the home.

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In a memorandum to fellow senators seeking co-sponsors, Scarnati outlines his plan for selling the Lieutenant Governor’s residence and using the proceeds to support programs that help military veterans obtain affordable housing.

According to the memorandum, Scarnati intends on introducing a piece of legislation in the new future stating that, “While the residence has served as an asset for many decades, it is no longer a necessity of state government.”

Pennsylvania is the only state that offers a residence for the Lieutenant Governor. The cost of maintaining the residence at full capacity is said to be around $400,000 annually. It is not clear at what price the compound would be appraised on the private market, containing two houses, a five car garage, an Olympic size swimming pool, and facilities outfitted for the Lieutenant Governor’s Pennsylvania State Police detail.

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On Twitter, Fetterman commented, “I’ve always said it should be for the highest, best use for our commonwealth. That use would never be as my home. @giselefetterman planning for swimming lessons and fun for PA kids 🏊🏾 🏊🏼🏊🏼 this summer! ❤️”

The house is located behind a gated entrance at Fort Indiantown Gap. It was built in the early 1940’s. The building was previously the governor’s summer home and served briefly as the main residence. It was originally built for the state’s adjutant general.

Lt. Governor Ernest P. Kline was the first to occupy the building in its new dedicated use. Many Lebanon County residents are familiar with Lt. Governor Kline’s son, Judge Samuel Kline, who once recalled to the Daily News a memory of “the tape the Gap used for reveille stuck on a loop and continued to blast just-woken ears for eight minutes.”

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