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YMCA Parking

March 04, 2001

YMCA Parking



By STACEY DANZUSO / Staff Writer, Chambersburg


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Chambersburg YMCA approached the Borough Council last week for guidance on its latest plan to alleviate a cramped parking situation expected to get worse once a proposed building expansion is completed.

David Matthews, executive director of the Chambersburg YMCA, 570 E. McKinley St., and engineer David Black presented a plan Wednesday evening that calls for the removal of a sidewalk on Middle Street and changing it to one-way traffic from McKinley and Garfield streets to accommodate diagonal parking. The proposal also includes turning Garfield Street from Middle Street to Sixth Street into one-way traffic to allow for diagonal parking.

The diagonal, metered parking, would add about three dozen new spaces for the YMCA's members, recovering the 32 spaces the facility will lose if it goes ahead with a planned expansion.

The long-range plans call for two new rooms, one for teens and one for youth, modernizing one pool and an air-conditioned fitness center on top of the three existing racquetball courts.

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In November, Matthews first approached the council with a request for the borough to vacate the block of Middle Street between McKinley and Garfield streets, and to allow the YMCA to use the space to expand its parking.

Closing Middle Street would make up the spaces lost to construction and allow for a more organized parking lot, he said.

But the YMCA had to come up with an alternative parking plan after the Chambersburg Area School District Board of Education, which owns the land on the other side of Middle Street, said it wasn't ready to agree with the vacation of the road, Matthews said.

Black pointed out the plans still allow the vacation of Middle Street as a consideration in the future once the school board determines its plans for the adjacent property.

The YMCA has been at the McKinley Street location for 44 years and needs to expand to remain competitive, officials said. Due to deed restrictions, the YMCA can not move to a new site, Matthews said.

The YMCA will need to seek variances from the borough planning and zoning office in order to proceed with the expansion and the parking proposals; however, the council is allowed to offer guidance, even though it does not make the final decision.

"The Y is looking to council for advice. The Y feels it must expand to stay competitive with other fitness facilities," said Eric Oyer, borough manager.

After Wednesday's meeting, Matthews and Black were to meet with the school board and the National Guard, which operates a facility on Garfield Street across from the YMCA, about the impact of the latest parking suggestions.

Council members said they would like to hear what the other parties think before throwing any support behind the plan. But several councilmen said they like the idea for the diagonal parking on Middle Street, while others did not like the suggestion for Garfield Street.

"As a member of the Y, I like this. It seems user-friendly," said Councilman Scott Helman.

However Councilman Scott Thomas questioned the ability of tractor-trailers to enter the National Guard parking lot from Garfield Street with the new parking arrangements.

Black and Matthews plan to present the views from the National Guard and the school district officials at a special meeting of the council's parking committee this week.

However, the committee has already agreed at an earlier meeting it would not recommend diagonal parking on Garfield Street, said Councilman Allen Coffman, chairman of the committee.

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