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Drilling begins at Village site

September 04, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Borough and Chambersburg Area Development Corporation representatives met Thursday with state and federal environmental officials about a downtown development project while preliminary work was being done at the site.

Drilling was going on at the proposed site of The Village on the Falling Spring along the Conococheague Creek and Falling Spring between West King Street and Lincoln Way West.

Corporation Executive Director David Sciamanna said the work was being done to determine how far down the bedrock is in preparation for construction.

Borough Manager Eric Oyer said the meeting with an Army Corps of Engineers biologist and a soils scientist from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection was part of the permit application process needed to proceed with the land exchange, the construction of two commercial buildings and a park.

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The plan calls for the borough to swap two sites for downtown property owned by the development corporation.

Also meeting Thursday with the Army Corps of Engineers and Department of Environmental Protection was Dr. Harry Haddon, who has headed efforts to stop the exchange of at least one of the building sites.

"It is the only truly historic site and recreational site in downtown Chambersburg," Haddon told Deborah Nizer of the Corps of Engineers. He gave her information detailing the history of the land, which he said was where borough founder Benjamin Chambers built his home, a mill and a fort.

Oyer said the corps' main concern will be environmental issues, but Nizer said the project will also have to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act.

Oyer said the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission has asked to be notified when excavation begins.

"I say the federal government has to be notified and do a study" before construction begins, Haddon said.

Sciamanna said the larger of the buildings would cost about $3 million and require the demolition of an old mill building already owned by his group. The northern building would cost about $400,000, he said.

The federal highway bill includes $2 million for public improvements in the area and the borough plan includes a memorial walk honoring veterans. Oyer said the land exchange could be voted on by the council later this month.

Haddon said he and Downtown Chambersburg Inc. Executive Director Paul Cullinane made presentations on Wednesday to the Franklin County Joint Veterans Council. Haddon said the council "passed a motion of disapproval of the plan as presented."

"That is his goal, to keep anything from happening down there," Cullinane said Thursday of Haddon's opposition to the plan. He said the project will bring an "economic infusion" to the downtown.

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