NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. (WHTM) – A little borough in Cumberland County took a big hit when it lost its largest restaurant.
Three years later, that vacant building is up for a tax sale. Business owners are hopeful it’ll revitalize the town.
Coakley’s Irish Pub used to be the crowded, loud bar everyone visited. When owners filed for bankruptcy and shut it down in 2014, it seemed to have left a big hole in the borough.
Steve Washburn sits outside during lunchtime. His wife, and co-owner of the Oxford Hall Celtic Shop, handles the one table inside for lunch.
“Quiet,” Leslie March, eating at Oxford, said, “but that’s great for a retiree.”
The problem is it’s not great for the business owners on the block.
“It was almost overwhelming looking a year later to see how much revenue went away,” Washburn said.
“Now since it’s vacant, it’s kind of a big hole in our neighborhood and it really needs to be filled,” said Becky Lee, owner of a gallery next door to Coakley’s.
Now three years since Coakley’s closed, Cumberland County is stepping in with a hail Mary to try and fill that hole. They’re putting Coakley’s up at a judicial tax sale next month, where the buyer is cleared tens of thousands of dollars in debt, liens and other baggage that the previous owner owed.
“I’m sort of hopeful,” Washburn said.
“The minute a new restaurant opens, believe me, the town will be very popular again,” March said.
And he’s hopeful for more lunchtime traffic in the Oxford Hall café.
“It would be huge,” Washburn said.
The tax sale is July 10 at 10 a.m. in the Old Cumberland County Courthouse on the 2nd floor.