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Borough, developers swap land

April 15, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - More than a year after the swap was first proposed, Chambersburg Borough Council on Wednesday unanimously approved an exchange of land for the proposed Village on the Falling Spring Project.

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None of the opponents of the project, including local historians and veterans groups, were present Wednesday when the council approved the ordinance exchanging borough property along the Falling Spring and Conococheague Creek for downtown properties owned by the Chambersburg Area Development Corporation.

The borough will give two streamside building plots to the development corporation in exchange for the site of the former Madden Hotel on North Main Street and other downtown property.

The development corporation has said it plans to construct office buildings on the two sites. A public park, built with mostly federal money, would separate the two buildings.

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Private and federal investment in the project would be approximately $11 million, according to earlier estimates from the development corporation.

A small park now occupies part of the site.

After the meeting councilmen John Redding and Thomas Newcomer expressed surprise that none of the opponents of the project were present at the meeting.

Earlier this year, borough residents Frederick A. and Kaye A. Fox filed suit against the borough and corporation. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants violated the borough code in approving the exchange at its Dec. 9 meeting. The case is scheduled for arguments next month in Franklin County Court.

Advocates have said the project will lead to more jobs in the economically depressed downtown. Opponents have said the project will destroy the area where Chambersburg founder Col. Benjamin Chambers built his fort and mills.

The borough has invited veterans groups and historians to help create a park at the site honoring the borough's founders and veterans.

The committee is scheduled to meet on Thursday, April 22.

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