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Rail-trail plan draws crowd, questions at public meeting

February 22, 2002

Rail-trail plan draws crowd, questions at public meeting



By RICHARD F. BELISLE
waynesboro@herald-mail.com


About 40 Chambersburg-area residents got a first look Thursday night at near final plans for the new 1.1-mile rail-trail that will run through the borough.

Mayor Tom Newcomer, chairman of the Rail-Trail Advisory Committee and Timothy P. DeWire, project manager, gave an overview of the $631,000 project, construction of which could begin this fall.

The trail will run through the borough following the CSX Railroad line that ended service in November 2000. The borough is waiting for the railroad to deed the land over for the linear park, Newcomer said Thursday.

Meanwhile planning is moving forward.

The trail begins on South Street with the southern section running to Queen Street. The central section goes from Queen to King streets and the northern section, the most bucolic because of the trees that will be planted along its sides, runs from King to Commerce streets.

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The trail, which will be paved, will be 12 feet wide in the first two sections and 10 feet wide in the northern section. It will have eight at-grade crossings, including four of the borough's busiest streets, among them Lincoln Way East and West.

A bridge, partially covered, will carry the trail over the Conococheague Creek.

The Evening Kiwanis Club has donated $15,000 to build a pavilion in the central section. Newcomer said he plans to meet with local groups to drum up financial support and volunteers for the trail once it opens.

Parking will be ample at most points along the trail.

One woman asked if dogs would be allowed on the trail. Dogs are banned from all parks in the borough, but Newcomer said there may be an exception for the rail-trail because it is a natural spot for residents to walk their dogs.

He said rules would require that dogs be on a leash and their owners would have to clean up after them.

A group of youngsters asked if skateboards would be allowed on the trail. DeWire said while the trail wouldn't be conducive to the sport because of its projected heavy use by pedestrians, there is room near the trail in some places that lend themselves to the development of a skateboard park.

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