Franklin County adopts open space plan

April 19, 2002|BY STACEY DANZUSO

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - After two years of work and input from 700 residents, the Franklin County Commissioners on Thursday adopted the county's first plan designed to strengthen and sustain recreation, parks and open space.

The Comprehensive Recreation, Park and Open Space Plan will serve as a guide for addressing current and future cultural, natural and recreational resource needs of county residents, Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said.

The commissioners also appointed an advisory committee of nine county residents to oversee and implement the plan.

The plan outlines a 10-year implementation strategy that includes:

- Administration for the county's recreation, greenway and open space system.

- A county trail system.

- Support of local initiatives.

- Recreation and open space inventory.

- EcoPark at Franklin Farm.


- Funding.

"The more facilities and potential sites for activity will benefit residents," said Herb Dolaway, an advisory committee member and Chambersburg's recreation supervisor. "People don't want to travel."

He said the plan allows the county to protect open space while letting the individual communities develop their own plans for active recreation.

The commissioners held the ceremony at EcoPark, a 6.5-acre area behind county buildings on Franklin Farm Lane. The park is part of the 10-year plan, said County Planner Phil Wolgemuth.

The park is only a quarter complete, he said. Matthew Hockesmith and Boy Scout Troop 133 of Chambersburg designed the gravel trail system, planted trees and constructed bird boxes for waterfowl habitat.

The commissioners dedicated the recreation plan and a tree in memory of Doug Niemond, a former county commissioner and recreation supervisor for Chambersburg, who worked on the park plan.

"What mattered to him was that kids and adults had places to play and compete. He was a true advocate for countywide recreation planning," Commissioner Cheryl Plummer said.

Niemond died last June.

The $50,000 plan, paid for by a Community Development Block Grant and the state Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, was approved by the DCNR in February.

The plan represents two years of work, including a detailed inventory of existing features and participation of 700 county residents through study groups, public meetings and interviews with public officials and schools.

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