Project key to rebirth of downtown Chambersburg

March 13, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Benjamin Chambers fell in love with the spot 263 years ago, built a grist mill and a sawmill on its banks. He followed up by founding Chambersburg.

Now that 2-acre patch of ground sandwiched between an ancient alley and the confluence of Falling Spring and Conococheague creeks will become a showcase for what planners hope will be another major step toward the rejuvenation of downtown Chambersburg.

That section of the borough's north end was the site of Benjamin Chambers's fort when Chambersburg was on the edge of the frontier. From now on it will be known as the Victorian Village on the Falling Spring, said Paul E. Cullinane, executive director of Downtown Chambersburg Inc. and head of the Chambersburg Area Development Corp., the agency that bought the two acres last year for $300,000.


It's all part of a master plan for the borough that calls for renovation of the Capitol Theatre on South Main Street, expansion of Ludwig's Parking Lot across from the theater, a rails-to-trails path through the borough and renovation and reuse of the old Franklin County Jail building on the corner of King and Second streets.

The corporation already has sold off a good chunk of its Falling Spring holdings including the two-story former Culp's Warehouse.

Noelker & Hull Associates, a local architectural firm, bought it for $150,000 and will turn it into offices for its own use, Cullinane said.

The renovations, plus some site renovations, landscaping and new lighting will be completed by early September, he said.

The village eventually will include two new office/retail buildings that the corporation hopes to build on the banks of Falling Spring. The project also includes some cleanup of the stream and repair of a reproduction water wheel on the site, he said.

About 1.6 miles of unused railroad track that crosses through the borough from Commerce Street to a point on South Main Street will be torn up later this year.

It will be replaced by what Cullinane calls "the recreational spine of Chambersburg," a hiking, biking and walking path that will link that part of the borough to the campuses at Wilson College and the Penn Hall retirement community.

Other loops will connect the main trail with other sections of the community, including a planned soccer complex on the west end and the Chambers 5 Business Park in the south, Cullinane said.

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