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Greencastle tackling flooding problems

June 10, 1999|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A solution to a decades-old flooding problem in Greencatle, Pa., could shape up this summer.

The borough is applying for a competitive Community Development Block Grant to relieve household and road flooding along South Carlisle Street to U.S. 11, according to Franklin County Community Planner Phil Wolgemuth.

"In 1996, the underpass was closed 13 times, so we have a definite safety concern," Wolgemuth told the Franklin County Commissioners on Thursday about the U.S. 11 railroad underpass.

Earlier this year, commissioners approved $186,500 from 1999 Community Development Block Grant funds for part of the project, which has an estimated total cost of about $1 million.

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The borough is now applying through the county for additional funding from a pool of $7.5 million in CDBG funds held by the state. Wolgemuth said more than 30 other communities in Pennsylvania have applied for funding for road and sewer improvements.

He predicted the grant application will be competitive, although the total requests far exceed the money available.

Even without the grant, Greencastle can use the county funding to proceed with the first phase of the project this summer, according to Borough Manager Ken Myers.

He said that would involve removing about 1,200 feet of railroad track and replacing it with a storm drain and swail system and a box culvert near U.S. 11 to drain off storm water.

Myers and Antrim Township Administrator Benjamin Thomas Jr. said the entire project would cover about a mile from Windsor Street in the borough to the Shadow Creek development in the township.

"The residents of South Carlisle Street that are directly affected have serious problems," Myers said. About a dozen homes experience flooding, he said.

"Lives could be lost at this location," Thomas said about the U.S. 11 underpass. Heavy rains regularly flood the roadway and there have been water rescues there in the past, he said.

Greencastle and Antrim Township have formed a committee to address stormwater problems and are paying for the engineering and design studies. Thomas said he hopes the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation will eventually contribute to the project.

Franklin County Commissioner Bob Thomas noted that U.S. 11 is an emergency detour for Interstate 81. A shutdown of both roads in bad weather could be a traffic disaster, he said.

A public hearing on the application will be held June 24. The application has to be submitted by July 1, according to Wolgemuth.

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