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Main Street Waynesboro, Inc., sets high goals

March 19, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - To paraphrase poet John Donne, no borough is an island. It needs the surrounding communities if it's going to get revitalized.

That was the theme Monday night at a town meeting attended by about a dozen people and sponsored by Main Street Waynesboro Inc., a group committed to improving the borough's downtown area.

The Borough of Waynesboro can no longer stand alone, but rather has to include Washington Township and other nearby communities in planning for its future, said Ken Koll, president of Main Street Waynesboro. "That's where the market base is," he said.

One purpose Monday was to compare and coordinate Main Street's vision for the future of downtown with those of citizens and other agencies, including Vision 2015 and the Borough Council, Koll said.

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"It's about where we see Waynesboro going and where you see it going," he said. "All of our ideas should tie into each other. We all want to be in the same place."

The Borough Council earlier this month voted to spend $50,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds on downtown improvements, plus another $26,000 for a survey to see what improvements are needed.

No council members attended Monday's meeting.

Koll said he was encouraged by the council's appropriation for downtown improvements.

Koll and John Honodel, Main Street Waynesboro vice president, said they were committed to the revitalization effort. "We are going to see this through," Honodel said.

"We're in the development stage. This is a first step," Koll said.

Koll said he has seen many people come into Waynesboro with their life savings to start a business only to see it fold in six months to a year.

Some of the ideas for bringing downtown back were facade facelifts, brick or cobblestone sidewalks, improved lighting, a Pa. 16 (Main Street) bypass around the borough, improvements to the public square, more attractive and safer parking lots and an end to the loitering, littering and foul language that some at the meeting said is rampant downtown, especially at night.

Downtown Waynesboro fell into rapid decline in the last decade, Koll said.

"You drive by and you see empty stores," he said. "It's going to take a lot of people acting aggressively to change things. A few people can't make big changes."

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