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Rally for Pa. square planned

September 11, 1998|By DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - John Leos wants opponents of a plan to change the configuration of Waynesboro's Center Square to meet him Saturday on the square.

Save Our Square and the Waynesboro Historical Society are sponsoring the Meet Me on the Square rally, which begins at noon and will run for three hours, said Leos, owner of the Candy Kitchen and one of the organizers.

Leos said SOS recently was formed by business people and residents who want to keep the square's configuration the same as it has been since 1797.

"It's the same plot that was laid out by John Wallace, the founder of Waynesboro," Leos said Thursday.

On Aug. 24, Mayor Louis Barlup cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of converting angled parking areas on the quadrant into pedestrian space.

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"No one spoke at that meeting to close the square," Leos said of the more than 60 people who attended the meeting.

"We're not changing the buildings. We're just changing what is currently asphalt into pedestrian areas. I do not feel we're changing anything historically," said Councilwoman Vicki Huff, who voted in favor of the plan.

Huff said she voted for the plan for safety reasons. She said the loss of 22 parking spots on the square would be partially offset by extending parallel parking along Main Street.

The approval by the council is a recommendation to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, which must approve the project since Center Square is part of Pa. 16.

Leos said the council could have voted to keep the square open without jeopardizing $900,000 in federal funding to improve traffic lights in the borough. He said closing the square will make it harder for large trucks to maneuver and could adversely impact safety.

As a downtown property owner, Leos said the change will also hurt property values.

The rally will be a mixture of protest and entertainment. Leos said there will be speakers, guided tours downtown, a display of historical photographs, refreshments and face painting for children.

He said petitions will be circulated that will be sent to the governor and officials in Washington, D.C.

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