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Youth foundation hopes to revive train station

April 16, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Karin Johnson remembers bringing her dog to a rabies clinic at the old train station shortly after moving to Greencastle nine years ago.

Gloria Rivellino went there for a bake sale soon after she moved to town five years ago.

Both women marveled at the station's architecture and historic significance. Today they are on the board of the Greencastle-Antrim Organized Youth Foundation, which owns the 100-year-old station on Jefferson Street.

Johnson is president of the foundation and Rivellino is treasurer. There are seven other members.

Greencastle-Antrim Organized Youth was set up around 1980 to buy the station from the foundation that operates the Jerome R. King Playground in Greencastle. The playground foundation bought the station from the railroad 20 years earlier, said John Kinney, 80, one of the early organizers of the effort to save the station.

The station opened in 1908 to serve those using the Cumberland Valley Railroad. That railroad was taken over by the Pennsylvania Railroad and then by Conrail, Johnson said.

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The station closed in the late 1950s, she said. The building was boarded up and idle until the playground bought it.

Johnson said up to 16 freight trains pass by the station every day.

Kinney said the playground organization renovated the station for use by youth groups like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, which still meet there.

The original youth foundation faded over the years until it was reorganized about 15 months ago, Rivellino said.

"Now we're trying to regain its momentum," she said.

She and Johnson agree that the station's biggest problem is the deteriorating canopy on the west side of the building along the railroad tracks. The canopy is falling down in places and could cost as much as $80,000 to bring it back to its original condition, Rivellino said.

The original brick walkway that surrounds the station and leads north to the railroad bridge over Pa. 16 is also in need of replacement, Johnson said.

Johnson and Rivellino hope more groups will begin to use the building.

"We'd like it to become an active community center," Rivellino said.

One of the youth foundation's main goals is to have the station listed on the National Register of Historic Places, a move that could make it eligible for grants, Johnson said.

Money for repairs and upkeep will also have to be raised locally by the youth foundation, Johnson said.

Donations can be made to the Greencastle-Antrim Organized Youth Foundation, P.O. Box 151, Greencastle, Pa. 17225 or by calling Johnson at 1-717-762-9329.

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