Letterkenny Army Depot plan takes shape

January 29, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Consultants hired to map out a plan for using 1,500 acres of Letterkenny Army Depot land being donated to Franklin County, Pa., have offered a glimpse of suggested uses for the property.

Although it could take up to 30 years for all plans to reach fruition, a business center could be ready to house its first tenants by next year, said said John H. Alschuler, president of the consulting firm hired by the Franklin County Reuse Committee.

The business center possibly could be called New Century Business Park, he said.

Alschuler said a final recommendation for use of the property will be made to the community in March.

It will take a generation to fully convert the base into a facility with space for businesses providing more than 10,000 jobs, Alschuler said.


In all, 650 of the 1,500 acres would be used for business and industry. The rest would be used for open space, roads and utilities, he said.

The Army will turn the land over in phases.

It will cost more than $50 million in state, federal and local funds to repair 40 miles of roads, nine miles of rail lines, 9.5 miles of water mains, 8.5 miles of sewer mains and four miles of electric service, Alschuler said.

Alschuler discussed the plans Wednesday with government, education, environmental, service and civic leaders and the public.

He produced a map showing how the 1,500 acres will be divided into a mix of space for heavy industry, office and administration, warehousing and distribution, light industry, roadside commercial development and community and open space, as well as possible public residential developments.

The post, which opened in 1941, went through a major downsizing two years ago along with dozens of military installations across the country. Military and civilian employment dropped from more than 5,000 down to about 2,900.

Alschuler said the federal government will have to spend about $500 million on environmental cleanup at the base, portions of which have been termed a Superfund project. The pollution, left by more than 50 years of military use, should have little effect on private-sector development of the 1,500 acres, Alschuler said.

"It will take 100 years to clean it all up," he said.

He said there are more than 4 million square feet of building space, mostly in obsolete buildings, on the 1,500 acres. At least a fourth will be demolished early on, Alschuler said.

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