Advertisement

History won't prevent depot development

November 17, 1997

History won't prevent depot development

By LISA GRAYBEAL

Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Before any buildings are torn down at Letterkenny Army Depot, the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission wants to preserve them through photographs and a written history to be stored in the state's archives.

After that, the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority can proceed with its original plans to turn 1,500 acres into a business and industrial park, which includes any necessary demolition.

"This agreement satisfies the basic mission of the Historical Museum Commission and it allows the economic vitality of Franklin County to grow ... It's a big win for Franklin County," said state Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin, who organized a public meeting Friday with commission officials and authority board members.

Advertisement

The historical commission recently declared that the entire 19,500-acre depot north of Chambersburg should be considered eligible as a historic district, including the 1,500 acres the Army is turning over to Franklin County as part of a federal realignment plan.

Commission officials said they are interested in telling the story of the depot, established in 1941-42 primarily as an ammunition storage facility, and its role in the American effort during World War II, according to Amy Riggleman, the commission's press secretary.

But state and local government officials opposed the commission's announcement because of the potential restrictions that naming the property a historical district could have on the county's reuse plans and economic growth.

The authority voted Friday to go along with the commission's plans to preserve the chapel built by Italian prisoners of war and the commander's quarters, Punt said.

The chapel will join the commander's residence, already listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

All of the 19,500-acre depot with historical significance between the years 1940 and 1949 will be documented, including the 1,500 acres to be turned over to the county, Punt said.

"It will not impede the operation of the industrial park," Punt said.

With this agreement, the authority's request for a $2.3 million grant to improve water and sewer systems and renovate Building 500, among other projects, can now be considered by the federal Economic Development Administration.

The Herald-Mail Articles
|
|
|