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Antrim takes steps toward new road

June 03, 1997

By RICHARD F. BELISLE

Staff Writer

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Chester Williams landed in France a few days after D-Day, was wounded twice in the fighting in Europe in World War II and now, at 73, said he's wondering if all that he went through was worth it.

"You fight for your country, get two Purple Hearts, then they come and take your home away from you for a road that isn't even needed," Williams said Monday as he stood in his driveway with his wife Dorothy and next-door neighbor Paul McLucas.

Antrim Township officials have notified both homeowners that their properties are being taken by eminent domain to make way for a new road that will serve as a commercial corridor. McLucas, 57, has lived in his century-old brick home at 802 Buchanan Trail East for 36 years. Williams has lived in his home for 44 years.

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Under law, both homeowners will be compensated for their property.

The road will begin at the intersection of Buchanan Trail East and Grindstone Hill Road, about a half-mile east of exit 3 on Interstate 81, and run south for about three miles parallel to and east of the interstate before ending at Exit 2.

Neither McLucas nor Williams know what they will do when they are forced to move out. McLucas said he spent $8,000 on a new roof two years ago. "My future was in this property," he said.

"We haven't decided yet," Williams said. "I'm not happy about it. We raised three children here. I expected to die on this place."

The Antrim Township supervisors passed an ordinance last week to allow them to take properties from five owners, including Williams and McLucas. The other three owners own about 90 percent of the land to be taken, all of it farmland. The road will cut an 80-foot wide swath through the land, said Theresa Schnoor, a township administrator. The land is zoned highway commercial, she said.

The road was included in an update of the township's master plan done five years ago, said Township Supervisor Scott Diffenderfer.

"The plan takes into account the need for a connector road to pull traffic off U.S. 11 and Pa. 16," Diffenderfer said.

It will be a commercial strip much like U.S. 30 East in Chambersburg, Pa., Hagerstown's Dual Highway or the Golden Mile on U.S. 40 West in Frederick, Md., Diffenderfer said.

Estimates to build the road run as high as $4 million, the supervisor said.

He said the decision to take the properties will help show the township's commitment to the project as it seeks funding from federal and state authorities. The township, with 12,000 residents, can't build the road on its own, he said.

Town officials have approached U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa., chairman of the House Transportation Committee. Diffenderfer said Shuster supports the idea. State Reps. Pat Fleagle and State Sen. Terry Punt have also been contacted, he said. Growth in the township warrants the road, he said.

Under state law the township must begin construction within five years of its vote to condemn the properties or the land reverts to the owners.

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