After laying abandoned for several years, the 145-acre state-owned property housing the former Youth Development Center in Shenango Township has been sold to a Newark, New Jersey based Islamic consulting firm called HIRA.
Out of three total bids on the property, HIRA was the highest and now the public is curious to know what the potential business plans on doing with the space.
HIRA’s official website – which contains many grammatical errors throughout – does not provide much information about the firm other than their main goal is to “offer services to the Islamic Schools who are not getting the educational ads from the Government.”
Attempts to reach HIRA for additional information about the company and purchase have been unsuccessful, which has many locals, including State Representative Aaron Bernstine, asking questions.
After expressing his displeasure of not being notified of the sale, Bernstine plans to ask the governor to host a community meeting in Lawrence County to discuss the property sale.
Although the property is not in the 10th-state legislative district, Bernstine says it lies right outside the boarder and still holds the potential to impact his constituents.
An investigative article called Who is Hira on the New Castle News website contains a little insight to many unanswered questions about the company.
Quoting the New Castle News article:
“Hira CEO, Asif Kunwar, did not sign Hira’s bid, although Kunwar apparently made a personal bid for the property, which he did sign. Why Kunwar would, in essence, bid against himself has yet to be explained.
The News also did an online “reverse phone number look-up,” only to find that the number on the website apparently belongs to an individual, not a company, who lives at a different address.”
Commissioner Robert Del Signore is among those who urge the commonwealth to check the legitimacy of the company before selling the property.
UPDATE 6/8/17: The following letter was sent to Gov. Wolf in regards to the sale of YDC, posted on Facebook by State Representative Aaron Bernstine: