Western Pennsylvania residents concerned about proposed wild animal park in their township

Associated Press

Residents of a western Pennsylvania township are voicing concerns over the planned construction of a 143-acre safari park scheduled to open next summer.

Liberty Township held hearings in November where residents discussed issues with the proposed Living Treasures Wild Animal Park, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported (http://bit.ly/1JS9941). Among their concerns were traffic, safety, privacy and potential water contamination.

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Despite the questions raised, the township granted 29-year-old owner Adam Guiher a permit that allows him to use the land for the park provided he follows the necessary federal and state regulations for operation.

Residents using well-water systems are worried that waste from the wild animal park could contaminate the soil and underground water.

Ron Faull, chairman of Liberty Township's board of supervisors, said Guiher is required to meet the Department of Environmental Protection's regulations to ensure residents' water doesn't become contaminated.

Faull said Guiher is acquiring holding tanks that store animal waste until a sewage system is built.

"Liberty Township wasn't supposed to be zoned for this kind of activity," said Julia Como, whose property sits about 100 yards from the park's planned location. "It's very dissatisfying, and for some reason, they're going to let it happen."

Guiher said the park located near Grove City about 45 miles north of Pittsburgh will house 100 species.

"It's going to be a great thing for the community," Guiher said. "There are millions of people within a hundred miles of that location. We can attract people from all different directions."

The park will feature North American, African, South American and Eurasian animal exhibits, including rare and endangered wildlife.

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Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, http://pghtrib.com