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Barn razing brings new development to Muncy

By Staff | Apr 17, 2012

Reese McClure, (left) a professional barn chaser from Moreno Valley, California, explains to his crew on how to remove the red barn's door that will be recycled into furniture. Each piece of lumber was removed carefully to be transported by rail.

MUNCY – Professional barn chasers came to the rescue when it was time for the Yurchak property on the corner of Rts. 405 and 442 to be sold. The salvaged wood from the old red barn that stood over time for many decades was dismantled piece by piece last weekend from a green consultant located in Moreno Valley, California.

John Yurchak who assisted his mother, Katharine Yurchak with the sale of the family homestead, said that he chose this company from three good serious offers he received over the internet about saving the barn wood. This outfit came into the area and used local help as well as renting the equipment here in Muncy. Although salvageable barn wood does not bring in a substantial return for the owner, it does get recycled and used for furniture and woodworking. “The value of barn wood that is 50 to 100 years old is only worth about two to five thousand dollars,” Yurchak said. He received over 20 inquiries after he posted it online. “I didn’t want the barn to be demolished purposelessly,” he said.

One fifty foot boxed rail car will hold this entire barn for recycling. Several forty foot single support beams were removed carefully to be transported to California, and from there, the lumber will be shipped by truck to a furniture company in the southeastern part of the country. “These beams are hard to move,” said Reese McClure, who was in charge of the barn razing. Jeremy Abernathy from Picture Rocks who is experienced with re-building barns, assisted the team with the dismantling.

“The main timbers are made from hemlock which makes good lumber for furniture,” he said. This wood was often used for building barns because it is long lasting and resists disease.

Yurchak said that the red barn was only painted once since 1962 when the family took ownership. Now a defense analyst and consultant for the Navy and living in Alexandria, Virginia, Yurchak said he has fond memories playing inside the barn as a kid. He grew up in the farmhouse on the adjoining property with his parents, the late Nicholas Yurchak and his mother Katharine who is well known in this area as a published author and journalist. “She used to write for the Shopper and the Luminary,” said John. Katharine recently moved to Virginia to be near her son. Katharine was also a pioneer of talk radio. She retired as executive secretary for the president of Little League Baseball, Peter J. McGovern.

The closing of the property will take place in the next few weeks announced Chris Pardee from Weichert Realtors Premiere in Williamsport. The property is commercially zoned and it took almost seven years for the transaction to be complete. “It took two years just to get a contract,” Pardee said. A development company outside of Camp Hill in Pennsylvania purchased the 18 acres that will be developed for a CVS retail store and a Sheetz gas station.

Finding the right buyer was a main concern for the Yurchaks. “Kay was always looking out for her husband who passed away 11 years ago in May, 2001,” said Pardee. “She wanted to hold out for the best offer. Her husband had enough forethought to the development of the property when he had it re-zoned for commercial purposes,” he added. “She is a fascinating woman and a strong individual.”

The development company, whose name will be revealed after the closing, came here two years ago. A lot of planning and agreements had to be negotiated before a settling cost could be finalized. “Working with the Planning Commission took a long time, but it was a very cooperative and a positive experience,” Pardee explained. After the closing, the farmhouse will be torn down and breaking of the ground will begin almost immediately. “It is a great commercial location. A lot of infrastructure will need to be done.”

Once the two anchor businesses are built, there will be room to add 5 or 6 more commercial pads or buildings in the new strip plaza that will change the appearance forever known for years to local residents as the “Y” intersection. According to the developer a new traffic light will be installed on the other side of Citizens & Northern Bank.

Originally there were three farms sitting among 50 acres in this location built by the Shoemaker Brothers according to Yurchak, and the bridge crossing the Muncy Creek is referred to as the Shoemaker bridge. A marker is mounted in the parking lot of Hull’s Landing explaining some of the history.