Borough approves sidewalk project

March 28, 2001|By STACEY DANZUSO, Chambersburg

Borough approves sidewalk project

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The Chambersburg Borough Council approved the construction of sidewalks along Norland and Fifth avenues Wednesday to improve pedestrian access to the growing commercial district.

In an hour-long debate that amplified the divisiveness between the current council members, the council first approved a proposal for sidewalks along the north side of Norland Avenue.

The sidewalk will run from Scotland Avenue, under the high-line to the Summit Health Center, providing safer access to the Franklin County CareerLink and Keystone Health Center, among other businesses.

The borough would be responsible for about $24,000, and individual property owners would pay for the rest of the $80,000 project.


Council members split on the vote, with Tom Newcomer, Carl Helman, Sharon Bigler, Scott Thomas and Robert Wareham voting in favor of the proposal. Council President Bernard Washabaugh, William McLaughlin and Allen Coffman voted against it. Councilmen Harold Kennedy and John Redding were absent.

In a second motion, Newcomer revived a long-debated option of extending sidewalks on the east side of Fifth Avenue from TB Woods to Norland Avenue, which would provide access to the business park from the south.

In January the business owners on that stretch of road vehemently opposed the proposal at a council meeting because of the high costs they would incur in installing the sidewalks.

Newcomer's motion came with the restriction that sidewalks would be required for construction on vacant lots, but no one else would have to build a sidewalk until the owner of the final vacant parcel applies for a building permit.

After intense debate, the council split four to four on Newcomer's motion.

Mayor Robert Morris cast the tie-breaking vote, which passed the proposal.

Newcomer, Helman, Bigler and Thomas supported the sidewalk. Washabaugh, Wareham, Coffman and McLaughlin voted against it.

"I don't think we should railroad it without talking to property owners," said Washabaugh, who pointed out the property owners were not at Wednesday's meeting and asked the borough secretary to invite the Fifth Avenue property owners to the next council meeting, April 11.

"Tonight, when we approved the sidewalks on the north side of Norland Avenue there were no property owners here. I think it's an interesting double standard," Helman said.

At Thomas' suggestion, property owners from the north side of Norland Avenue will also be invited to the next meeting to comment on the plan.

The council also unanimously approved the spending of $10,000 from the Department of Public Works' budget to fill in a 4-foot area along the west side of the road from Norland Avenue to Grant Street to make it safe for pedestrians.

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