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Progress made on Victorian Village

September 10, 1997

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Part of a master plan contrived almost two years ago has become a plan of action to turn one of Chambersburg's most historical sites into a modern business complex.

Work is under way to complete the first of six phases of the Victorian Village on the Falling Spring, a two-acre parcel in the borough's north end between an alley and the confluence of Falling Spring and Conococheague Creek.

Excavation and construction crews are working at the site, where Chambersburg's founder, Benjamin Chambers, built a grist mill and sawmill. The crews are building parking lots, installing electrical wiring and lights, placing water and sewer lines, paving walkways with brick and planting trees.

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"It's going very well. We expect the first phase to be completed by mid-November," said Paul 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.

Also in November, local architectural firm Noelker & Hull Associates plan to move their offices and 24 employees into the former Culp's Warehouse, a two-story brick building on the site which they bought for $150,000.

Architects from the firm designed all of the remodeling and construction of the building with the intent of maintaining its original character, Cullinane said.

One of the project's final phases calls for the construction of two new buildings on the banks of Falling Spring to house offices and maybe some retail stores, Cullinane said.

Project officials are hoping the site's proximity to the downtown and its aesthetic value will attract businesses and the public.

"There's a lot of historical significance to the area. We want to reacquaint the public with that location," he said.

The area will resemble a park-like atmosphere where people can eat lunch and relax, Cullinane said. He also envisions the site to be used for public events.

The project also includes some cleanup of the stream, and a 12-foot high, 3,000-pound reproduction overshot water wheel has already been repaired through volunteer efforts, he said.

Besides private investments and a $50,000 contribution from the borough, project officials are counting heavily on receiving a $15 million federal grant to be put towards the master plan for the borough, which includes the village project, Cullinane said.

The plan also includes the 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 the renovation and reuse of the old Franklin County Jail building on the corner of King and Second streets.

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