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School district to put dibs on depot property

February 11, 1998|By DON AINES

School district to put dibs on depot property

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg Area School District could have 250 acres for an agricultural and environmental education center if the U.S. Department of Education approves its application for a portion of Letterkenny Army Depot.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to apply for a public benefit conveyance for a 250-acre area designated for community and recreational use under a redevelopment plan prepared last year for the Franklin County Reuse Committee.

Assistant Superintendent Dr. Kenneth Byers said the deadline for submitting the application to the Department of Education is March 1.

"We're also talking to the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority about a direct transfer," Byers said. If that should happen, the application to the department would be unnecessary.

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As a result of the 1995 Base Realignment and Closure Commission decision, approximately 1,500 acres of the depot was declared excess property. LIDA is the group in charge of redeveloping the land for industrial and other uses.

Byers said the property, which includes about 130,000 square feet of building space, would be used for agricultural and environmental education, but also has practice ballfields and other recreational facilities.

A public benefit conveyance of the federal government land would cost the district nothing, as long as the land is put into use within a year of the transfer, according to the resolution.

"We wouldn't have to invest a lot of money there in buildings," Byers said.

The land includes farmhouses, storage sheds, offices, day care facilities, a former military housing complex called Kenny Gardens and a former post exchange.

The reuse strategy report said it also includes 35 wooded acres for camping.

Byers said most initial improvements would be minor, although an environmental director would have to be hired.

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