Unrecorded water utility deed recorded in Perryville
Cole family heir called in to help
— As the town prepared to work on a piece of land it has owned for more than 50 years, a missing piece of paper was holding up the progress.
In January and March 1960, the Board of Town Commissioners passed resolutions showing Perryville had purchased the water system owned at that time by Gertrude and Donaldson Cole Sr. — Perryville Water Company of Cecil County, Denise Breder, town administrator, said Friday.
The utility included a reservoir, pumping facility, equipment and 18 wooded acres.
“All the resolutions were
passed and the Coles entered into the agreement of the sale,” Breder said of the town documents found.
But there was something missing.
“What happened was the deed was never recorded,” Breder said.
That paperwork misstep was discovered recently as the town sought approval from the county and the state to proceed with plans to retire the aged reservoir. Breder said Fred Sussman, the town’s attorney, researched the transfer to find who held legal right to the property.
“Our claim is correct,” Breder said, but added Sussman found a descendent of the Coles.
“Rebecca Cole is the surviving person of record for the estate,” Breder said, noting she signed an affidavit confirming that the sale had taken place and that Per- ryville did own the rights to the property.
A suit seeking quiet title to that end has been filed in Cecil County Circuit Court. A quiet title case is used to settle property disputes.
Perryville used the reservoir to supply water to its residents until 1973. Since 2013, the mayor and commissioners have been discussing what to do with the property with suggestions ranging from doing nothing, to making it a park to selling it off.
Last month, two engineering groups approached the board with plans to conduct a stream restoration project along Mill Creek, which supplies water to the reservoir. This “compensatory mitigation” project would be to make environmental amends for any damage done in the construction of a new business in the Principio Business Park.
In this file photo, Perryville Mayor Jim Eberhardt and Ralph Ryan, the town’s engineer, listen to PJ Meekins from the town public works department detail the condition of the reservoir that used to be part of the town’s water treatment plant from the 1900s until 1973.