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Old 07-24-2018, 03:47 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,365 posts, read 826,099 times
Reputation: 1401

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Quote:
Originally Posted by wharton View Post
I spent decades assuming I would retire to Wellsboro. When the time came, my wife and I got serious about talking to locals, visiting to see home listings, and getting a look at what was I was guilty of viewing with rose colored glasses, as I vacationed in the area, since I was in Elementary school.

Bottom line? It's a great town. The region overall seems to be in decline however, with many of the businesses on rural highways in the county that are closed, gone, for sale, etc, In town, home prices seem to be flat, or declining. There is a home currently for sale in the gaslight district. We nearly bought it in 1999. It is currently in nicer condition, and (after adjusting for inflation) listed for about 88% of what it sold for, nearly twenty years ago. The rural areas have a lot of newer trophy/McMansion grade places for sale that seem to spend a very long time on the market. When it came to rural, in good condition, and under $200K, we didn't find a whole lot. Overall, it would be hard to claim that the now deceased gas drilling boom was a net positive. The final straw for us was health care. The local take on it was that excellent care was available at places like Geisinger in Danville, or in a new hospital outside of Corning, as for locally, not so much. My wife needs the availability of a specialist who is trained in evaluating and programing a specific implanted medical device. In areas like Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, The Lehigh Valley, etc.. There are several of these providers to chose from. When we checked the manufacturer, the closest provider to Tioga county made weekly visits to the Corning area. We also know of a few rural folks who had serious health crisis's in the area, heart attack, motorcycle wreck, etc. They were taken to the local hospital and immediately shipped off to Geisinger, by helicopter, since there were no local facilities that could handle the issue.

Wellsboro is a wonderful place, but there are a lot of issues to consider. We have met several locals who flat out told us that they would NOT recommend moving there, for many reasons, from the fact that they can't trust the water at their rural homes, to the many drawbacks it poses to retirees.

No doubt certain industries in the area are most definitely in decline. I don't deny that, and in the rural fringes of the county especially you are seeing most of the population loss and economic bleeding. Which in ways does affect business year round in the town, if part of the county is struggling, the county seat loses economic output.

The natural gas industry definitely is generating some economic opportunities in the region though, and I will not go on and say it is booming, beyond belief, but it is on a moderate growth trend, and is definitely bringing new life to the town.

Just in the past year, this opened, and when I was there 2 separate nights in May, it was packed!

https://theroostpub.com/

Quite a nice place too. A place like that, which honestly you would find in a Philadelphia or Pittsburgh hot neighborhood, is not a sign of a dying town.


I am biased, my parents grew up in the town, and my grandparents move there from Philadelphia to become teachers.

The professional class of the town is quite sizeable, for a town its size.

Lawyers
Doctors
Professors

My aunt's 400k house sold in 3 weeks last year. The house probably had the same valuation as homes in the Harrisburg - Lancaster area. Newer construction, nice finishes and just outside the boro (a 10 minute walk from the boro elementry school). Again for 400k. A house that has the same comps than say Rochester or Harrisburg, its two closest largest metros, selling in less than 30 days, does not tell me a town is dying.

Point is, yes Wellsboro, as is all of rural America is facing some challenges. But its not all doom and gloom.

I do understand your concerns and appreciate your nice words for the charm of the town. You do seem very knowledgeable on the area. I am not sure the last time you were in the town, but UMPC purchased the Wellsboro hospital within the last 2 years, and that has been a major investment in the region.

Two larger hospitals are available: Corning or Williamsport which are about one hour away.

Last edited by rowhomecity; 07-24-2018 at 04:03 PM..
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Old 07-24-2018, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Philadelphia
1,365 posts, read 826,099 times
Reputation: 1401
Quote:
Originally Posted by trlhiker View Post
I actually looked in that area and it seemed very promising until Wharton posted. That said, thanks to all who have posted and I will start looking in the east and northeast area. Scranton looks like it is only about 3 hours from Watertown so that is a big plus. I also looked at Williamsport but home prices seem high in that area. My only issue with towns and cities along rivers is the flood potential. I have always been leery of living near a river due to flooding. Is that being too cautious?

Definitely check out Wellsboro. It is a lovely town. 150k doesnt buy you much in PA anymore in a desirable area. Real Estate values in the desirable parts of the state are climbing fast.

You will find the most bang for your buck with the services you are looking for there. IMO.

It is not doom and gloom.
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Old 07-24-2018, 04:28 PM
 
561 posts, read 214,744 times
Reputation: 1989
Quote:
Originally Posted by trlhiker View Post
I actually looked in that area and it seemed very promising until Wharton posted. That said, thanks to all who have posted and I will start looking in the east and northeast area. Scranton looks like it is only about 3 hours from Watertown so that is a big plus. I also looked at Williamsport but home prices seem high in that area. My only issue with towns and cities along rivers is the flood potential. I have always been leery of living near a river due to flooding. Is that being too cautious?
First, you may be giving my opinion and experience too much weight, I would at least visit EVERY place you are thinking about, even if it's a week long road trip with an overnight in all the potential spots. Williamsport is a place that has had a pretty sketchy past, when it comes to crime, but I'm not up on the latest stats.There are also lots of nice towns and neighborhoods in the area. As for flooding, no you are not being overcautious when it comes to PA. river towns and cities. There isn't an older resident of most of those places that doesn't have a horror story of the devastation in the early 1970s or the late 1950s. For many it was horrendous. Since then there have been hundreds of millions spent on dikes and other flood control, but there are still lots of places that can flood, and cause a lot of damage.
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Old 07-24-2018, 05:17 PM
 
561 posts, read 214,744 times
Reputation: 1989
Rowhomecity, I agree with much of your take on Wellsboro, and no I was unaware that UPMC took Saylors over. That can't be a bad thing. I would however give more weight to what I observe with regard to the overall health of the rest of the county, and the gas industry. I have had conversations with supervisors from Shell Appalachia, who told me that they are looking at northern tier gas as a 100 year play. They bought out many of the small players and wildcat wells of the boom, a decade back. They are basically being held as part of their global "proven reserves" and they have no plan to send pipeline laterals to many of them in the foreseeable future. As one told me, "some of these folks were counting on royalties that will come someday, but the checks might go to their grandchildren, or great-grandchildren". Industry has been slowly dying for half a century in the northern tier, and Wellsboro can't escape that fact. IIRC, Osram and Hitachi Metals were the last two big, in town hits, with many other factory job loses within commuting distance. Absent the perpetually dwindling manufacturing base, and the unusual concentration of professionals in the area, the county, and the northern tier still suffer the same fate they have since the last battles with the native Americans ended. That being, it is a very remote area that has ridden a continual rollercoaster of extraction booms and busts. Hemlocks for colonial ship masts, tanning bark, clear cut timber harvests, Rehabbing the clear cutting wasteland by employing thousands of CCC workers, developing a workable farm economy and markets for farmers that were in dire straits after the start of the great depression and abandoning the region, shallow gas, marcellus gas, and who knows what's next, maybe the Utica shale layer? My great great grandmother actually left England and sailed to the new world to work as a cook in a northern tier lumber camp, in the late 1800s, catching the second, or was it the third extraction boom of the region. I actually believe that absent the frack boom & bust, and my wife's unusual medical needs, I would of moved to Wellsboro and not settled into Lancaster county. But life happens.

Once again, the town is magical in some ways. It tends to ride the downsides of the region's economic health MUCH better than most other communities from the western edge of NEPA all the way to Erie, but any remote community has it's downsides, and this one is no different.
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Old 07-24-2018, 09:59 PM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic
28,464 posts, read 27,247,137 times
Reputation: 35676
That was very interesting. Thank you.
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Old 07-30-2018, 10:16 AM
 
4,264 posts, read 10,253,529 times
Reputation: 3835
Wellsboro has a cutsie-ness cost premium compared to some of the other towns in the area. Its locally owned businesses and things to do such as community theater and hiking club are pluses for active retirees, but your money could go further other than in the gas light district. There are nice homes in a number of the surrounding communities, even if the towns themselves aren't as well kept.

In the Northern Tier well water and river bottoms are definite risk factors. There do seem to be 100 and 500 year floods every couple of years so watch out for the pretty little babbling brook. Septic systems in PA are bigger $$ to fix than in other states due to more draconian regulations, stay away from someone selling a septic problem.

Guthrie, based in Sayre, is a capable multi-county health system which now also owns the Corning hospital (unfortunately it has now moved three exits east on I-86, barely still Steuben County but now that much further from Tioga County PA areas). The hiking is much better in Tioga/Lycoming counties than in Bradford County though. A cute house in Troy will have water and sewer service, possibly rows of fracking trucks driving by from time to time, and equally distant from trailheads and doctors' appointments.

Proximity to US 15 or PA/NY 14 or US 220/NY 34 would lead you to or past Elmira area where you can take the NY 13 diagonal road to I-81 at Cortland a half-hour south of Syracuse. NY 13 passes through Ithaca, an avatar of the cultural (as opposed to the sports-oriented) college town. Folks commute to Ithaca from Sayre, so that's certainly close enough for dinner out.
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