Former slaughterhouse set for transformation

April 21, 1997


Staff Writer

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A food pantry's effort to buy and renovate an old lamb slaughterhouse could be killed in favor of a new industrial park.

The Rev. T.J. Cover - who founded Giving Others Dedicated Service, or G.O.D.S. Mission - seven years ago, hopes to buy the former Appalachian Lamb Co. at 8642 Molly Pitcher Highway North with grants, loans and donations.

However, the property's owner said he already gave Cover a chance to buy the slaughterhouse and now wants to develop the property.


The Greencastle/Antrim Development Corporation was forced to take over the property when the slaughterhouse went bankrupt, said Dan Reynolds, development corporation president. The slaughterhouse left unpaid a $125,000 mortgage at a local bank, about $60,000 in unpaid property taxes plus start-up money lent to it by a federal development agency.

Reynolds said the development corporation has about $360,00 tied up in the property, which includes the slaughterhouse complex and 22 acres fronting the highway.

The corporation offered to sell it to Cover last fall for the $360,000 it had in the property, but she has yet to come up with any money, he said. "She's been dragging her feet too long so we're taking it off the market," Reynolds said.

The property will be converted into a new industrial park, he said. The property is zoned heavy industrial, has ample water and Greencastle and Antrim Township officials will be running sewer lines by it in the next two to three years, he said.

Plaguing the property is an environmental problem caused by a fuel oil spill when Appalachian ran its slaughterhouse, Reynolds said. It could cost up to $70,000 to clean up, although grants are available to fund the project, he said.

Meanwhile, Cover still wants to try to acquire the slaughterhouse.

"This building has everything I need," she said. "It has a freezer, cooler and 32,000 square feet of dry storage. It has water, a rail spur and office space."

Cover, 36, runs her mission out of a barn at her home on Guitner Road near Chambersburg. She has nine full-time volunteers, including herself and her husband.

The foodstuffs she gives to needed families is donated by manufacturers, processing plants and distributors, she said.

She said the mission helps families in 28 Eastern states. Locally, agencies like Women in Need, the welfare office and the WIC program refer clients, she said.

Cover was a housewife and mother in 1990 when she decided to start a food bank in 1990.

She said the mission, its donations and the number of families it helped grew by word-of-mouth. By 1993 it was helping families as far away as New England and Florida, she said. Today the mission distributes food through 68 agencies in 28 states, she said.

Cover said she has approval for federal grants for up to $220,000 to renovate the former slaughterhouse after she comes up with the $360,000 to buy the property.

She said money to buy the property will come from other grants, donations and fund raisers, including a penny collection campaign which brought in $900 last year, and two new efforts -an auction and T-shirt sale scheduled for later in the year.

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