Questions raised over sidewalk plan

June 12, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Questions on the need for and the location of a proposed sidewalk linking the Waynesboro Mall and the Wayne Heights Mall were raised Tuesday night at a special meeting of the Waynesboro Borough Council.

The meeting, held at the Renfrew Institute barn, included Renfrew officials, homeowners whose properties lie on the proposed route, and Washington Township officials who want the walkway.

The biggest section, if the sidewalk is built on the south side of Pa. 16 as has been proposed, would pass through Renfrew property.


Renfrew officials want the nearly one-mile-long walkway to be built on the opposite, or north, side of Pa. 16, a preference also shared by the affected private property owners.

Michael Christopher, Washington Township administrator, said the south side provides the safest way for youngsters to get to and from the YMCA and the Waynesboro Area School District grounds, both of which would be served by the sidewalk, according to officials.

Christopher said the idea for a sidewalk connecting the two municipalities has been discussed for 25 years. He said the sidewalk is now feasible because the $325,000 that it has been estimated it would cost it is available.

The lion's share, $265,000, comes from federal funds being funneled through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and from a $60,000 state grant. The grants were secured by State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Waynesboro, and the Franklin County Planning Commission.

Rights of way have to be obtained from the homeowners, an Allegheny Power facility, YMCA, the school district and Renfrew.

Vicki Jo Huff, a Waynesboro Council member, and Renfrew board member, said Renfrew officials support the project provided it won't permanently alter the park area, the sidewalk is built close to the road for minimum impact on the museum grounds, museum officials have a say in the design of lighting and a pedestrian bridge over the East Branch of Antietam Creek which runs through the park and that the museum not be held legally responsible for any liabilities stemming from incidents on the walkway.

Christopher said most of the museum's demands can be met with the exception of the liability clause.

Christopher said the township won't be liable for the stretch of the sidewalk running through the park.

"If this is a deal-killer, then Renfrew must stand up and say it," Christopher said.

Ray and Brenda Adkins own a home adjacent to the parking lot at Waynesboro Mall, the eastern-most point of the proposed walkway.

They said they worry about bikers and skateboarders using the sidewalk and asked who would maintain and patrol it.

A.B. Sollenberger, 928 E. Main St., another affected homeowner, has lived in her home for 60 years. She said the state took 20 feet of her front lawn for the road and wondered how much more she would lose with the sidewalk.

She asked about the fate of a row of trees she planted along the front of her yard as a buffer against traffic noise.

Questions raised by affected homeowners and Renfrew officials won't be answered until final surveys and engineering studies are completed, officials said.

Waynesboro Mayor Louis Barlup suggested that volunteers be recruited to sit near the proposed route and count the pedestrians who walk that stretch of Pa. 16 now.

"We don't really know how many people walk there or where they're going," Barlup said.

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