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Property dispute may cause business to close

Business owners say they need property to expand

Reported by: Kerri Corrado
Written by: Marc Stempka

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- The owners of a Cambria County recreation business have expressed concern that their business may need to close over a dispute with the property owners from which they rent.

The owners of Coal Tubin, a rafting and hiking business in the Moxham section of Johnstown, said without being able to own and the property and buildings they rent from the Cambria County Transit Authority, they wont be able to expand.

Coal Tubin owner, and Johnstown native, Chad Gontkovic has had the business for five years, telling 6 News he returned to the area after serving military to open his own business.

Gontkovic said he wants to be able to own the property and the two buildings that he is renting from CamTran so he can expand the business.

"If a guy comes in out of town and is homegrown and he wants to spend a little money on two old buildings why are we standing in his way," Gontkovic said.

Gontkovic said he wants to own the property and buildings along the Stonycreek River, but CamTran told him they cant give him the property. Gontkovic said he doesnt want to invest and expand his business if hes in a rented property.

"My wife and I can move into better things but our first choice is to stay, but we dont want to keep renting and have to have the status quo, Gontkovic said.

CamTran Board Chairman Ed Cernic Sr., said the transit authority cant sell the property to Gontkovic because the board would need to put the property up for public bid and Gontkovic would run the risk of losing the property.

Cernic said CamTran has been more than cooperative with Coal Tubin and allowing the owners to rent the property for cheap.

"Bringing people into the area will save this area, we have the natural resources to do [so and] just need to get on the same game plan," Gontkovic said.

Cernic said the business owners never showed a plan for expansion and was unaware of the owners concerns.

Cernic said the possibly remained for a long-term lease agreement with Coal Tubin.

Gontkovic said the business could close next summer if they arent able to own the property.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times