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YMCA seeks road closing

November 09, 2000

YMCA seeks road closing



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg YMCA wants the borough to close a road in order allow the expanding facility more room for parking.

David Matthews, executive director of the Chambersburg YMCA, approached the Chambersburg Borough Council Wednesday night about the growing facility's need to ease the parking crunch.

He asked the borough to consider closing one block of Middle Street between McKinley and Guilford streets to allow the YMCA to extend its parking.

The YMCA has been at its current site on McKinley Street for 44 years.

"We have expanded and grown and been able to meet the community's changing needs," Matthews said.

The YMCA also has long-range plans that call for two new rooms, one for teenagers and one for youths, modernizing one pool and an air-conditioned fitness center on top of the three existing racquetball courts.

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The YMCA already has a parking shortage and expansion would eat into more spaces, Matthews said. Closing Middle Street would make up those spaces and allow for a more organized parking lot, he said.

The Chambersburg Area School District, which owns the property on the other side of Middle Street, would share rights to the street if the borough vacated it.

The council spent 45 minutes reviewing a design by Greg Lambert, an engineer with David Black and Associates in Chambersburg, and discussing potential traffic flaws at the busy facility.

Lambert suggested circulating traffic in from McKinley Street and out on Garfield and Sixth streets to avoid the present confusion on McKinley Street, with cars turning in and out of the YMCA and the high school entrance across the street.

Mayor Robert P. Morris and Councilman Carl W. Helman supported an idea to move the entrance on McKinley Street away from the high school exit.

"I'd rather see the entrance further down from the high school. It's horrendous," Morris said.

Other suggestions included allowing only traffic coming west into the McKinley Street entrance and forcing the eastbound traffic to make additional turns and enter off Garfield Street.

Councilman Thomas L. Newcomer opposed that, saying, "During busy hours everything's a problem there. You don't want to restrict the McKinley Street entrance to only people coming from the west."

The council urged Matthews to notify property owners that would be affected by the closure of Middle Street of their proposal.

"If you explain it right you can show it's going to help them," Morris said.

The next step is for the YMCA and school district to submit official requests in writing to the council asking the borough to vacate the portion of Middle Street.

If anyone objects, the council will hold public hearings.

Matthews said the YMCA plans are still in their infancy and it would be at least three years before expansion could begin.

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