Rights of way, studies to delay sidewalk

March 07, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

It will be next year at the earliest before work can begin on the new sidewalk linking Waynesboro with Washington Township along Pa. 16, the township manager said Wednesday.

Michael A. Christopher said it would take that long before rights of way from the property owners along the route could be secured. After that, archeological, environmental and engineering studies would have to be done.

The sidewalk would run east on the south side of Pa. 16 for two-thirds of a mile from the Waynesboro Mall to Welty Road, which would link it to Wayne Heights Mall, according to plans.

About $325,000 has been authorized for the walkway, Lloyd Hamberger, Waynesboro's borough manager, said. State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Waynesboro, secured a $60,000 state grant and the Franklin County Planning Commission got the lion's share with a $265,000 federal grant.


Rights of way would have to be obtained from five private property owners - an Allegheny Power facility, the YMCA, Waynesboro Area School District and Renfrew Museum and Park, Christopher said.

Several private property owners have expressed concern about maintenance of the sidewalk, Christopher said. There are also concerns about crossing over Renfrew land that is considered historic, he said.

Christopher said the preferred route would take the sidewalk about 200 feet behind the trees bordering the road at Renfrew. A pedestrian bridge would be built over the East Branch of Antietam Creek, which runs through Renfrew. Christopher said that route would save the row of flowering trees along the road at the museum.

Renfrew officials have not yet embraced that plan. Curator Jeffrey Bleimiester said the museum's board of directors discussed the route this week. He said the board has some concerns and would make its decision in a couple of months.

"It's a great concept, but there are some things that need to be worked out," Bleimiester said.

Any decision by the museum's board could be vetoed by the Waynesboro Borough Council because the borough owns the park.

"The council has the final say," Hamberger said.

Dick Marks, executive director of the YMCA, said he would prefer that the sidewalk follow a route along East Second Street that would take it behind the YMCA before continuing east along Pa. 16 to Welty Road.

Marks said he doesn't think a sidewalk will increase pedestrian traffic into the YMCA.

"Most people drive or are dropped off," he said.

Those involved say there is value in the sidewalk for safety reasons. More than 20,000 vehicles pass over Pa. 16 in that stretch every day, forcing pedestrians to dodge vehicles. The schools sit in the middle of the route the sidewalk would take and students often use the road to get to one of the malls, officials said.

The Buchanan Trail Pedestrian Walkway, as the sidewalk will be called, will provide a safe walkway for pedestrians from the borough sidewalk system to the YMCA, the schools, Renfrew, the Wayne Heights Mall and the Wayne Heights residential areas, Christopher said in his application for the grants.

"There's no easy way to walk between the two communities," he said. "It's a safety concern."

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