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State money sought for lake

October 16, 2000

State money sought for lake



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With the hopes of one day restoring Wolf Lake for recreational use, residents and the Chambersburg Borough Council are moving forward with plans to get state funding for a study of the lake.

The council will hold a public hearing on the issue Oct. 25, before deciding whether it will apply for a grant from the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources to fund a feasibility study of the lake, located on the edge of the Wilson College campus.

"The study would look at Wolf Lake and see how it can be better utilized as a public waterway, to enhance the recreational quality of life in the area and to be better used as an environmental education asset," said Pamela Gaudiose, a Chambersburg consultant helping to spearhead the efforts.

Gaudiose said a lot of information needs to be gathered before any rehabilitation could begin.

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"If there is going to be increased public access we need to consider a partnership with the college or discuss whether the college could donate it to the community," Gaudiose said.

Gwendolyn Jensen, president of Wilson College, said the college Board of Trustees will meet next month to make a decision on whether it wants to contribute $5,000 to help match state funds, a requirement of the grant.

"The people working on this are to be praised. The lake is not really in shape to be used for much of anything," Jensen said. "We are really glad this issue is coming forward from the community and agree it could be much more of an asset to the college and community," Jensen said.

Gaudiose said she envisions the lake having boating and walking trails for seniors. She would like to see the project tied into Rails for Trails.

"It's a beautiful waterway close to the downtown area, but we don't leverage it at all," she said. "Right now if someone wanted to go somewhere similar they would have to go 20 miles away. It is a rare asset to have it located close to community."

Robert Lesher, a former president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, is one of the driving forces behind the proposal.

"The renovation of Wolf Lake will make a positive impact on the college and the community," Lesher wrote in a letter to Borough Manager Eric Oyer this month requesting help to match the state funds. "The revitalization of the lake can be coordinated with larger community efforts to improve the green space in the downtown area and become a destination point for quiet enjoyment of a water resource."

In the early 20th century the lake was the hub of a community park called Dreamland, built by the Wolf family.

Dreamland was a local attraction complete with artistic bridge, boat rentals and pavilions for dancing, Gaudiose said.

Wolf Lake was dredged annually then, but it's been more than 50 years since the lake was last dredged, she said.

So far, Gaudiose said she and Lesher have heard only positive reactions to the proposal.

"No negative comments have surfaced. Everyone keeps saying 'Go for it.'"

She hopes the state feels the same way.

"All the study is oriented toward is placing in front of folks what the opportunities are and costs associated with making opportunities mature," she said.

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