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New Plans for Old Birchwood Resort

POCONO TOWNSHIP — Long before it became known as the place where they captured accused cop killer Eric Frein,  the Birchwood Resort in Monroe County was a...

POCONO TOWNSHIP -- Long before it became known as the place where they captured accused cop killer Eric Frein,  the Birchwood Resort in Monroe County was a hot spot for honeymooners.

The old resort has been closed for years and has fallen apart. Now the latest  owners want to put some life in it.

They are set show their plans to Pocono Township officials at 6:30 p.m. Monday.

The owners of the old Birchwood Resort near Tannersville are planning to build a new hotel, spa, and water park on the property that has looked like a Ghost town for years.

It's a massive project, that some people think is "too big."

The last time the old Birchwood resort in Monroe County saw any activity, was last October when police ended a nearly seven-week manhunt and captured accused cop killer Eric Frein here.

But now the owners of this dilapidated property are proposing a new identity to Pocono Township.

"C. Castle is presenting their sketch plans tonight for initial reaction by the planning commission and the public," said Gregg Schuster, Pocono Township Manager.

C. Castle Group has owned the property since 2008 and they are proposing to replace the old resort with the new Spa Castle Grand Resort. It would include a 150 room hotel, nearly 300 unit condominium, spa, meeting center, and a private water park.

Some people who live around the property say a project of this magnitude is too much for this mostly residential area.

"I think it stinks in plain English! We have two big water parks coming up now. I just think they can find something nicer for that area. It's just too big," said Joanna Cassebaun, a Pocono Township Resident.
This isn't the first time members of the C. Castle Group have proposed a project like this. Their 2010 proposal was even bigger and stirred up similar concerns.

They hoped this scaled down proposal would be better received by township residents like Joanna Cassebaun.

"I think that is going to be very difficult for those of us that have lived here for so long. People from the city who are used to big things may not object to that. But I want the trees to stay where they are. I cry when they cut down a tree," Cassebaun added.

"Everyone is sensitive to the fact that there are residents near the Birchwood Resort, so we encourage all residents to come out here and voice their opinion," Schuster added.

The Monday night meeting is open to the public.

Officials with the township say this is the very first step to get a plan approved for the old Birchwood property.

There still has to be a formal submission, review, and approval before the owners  can move forward.