Borough looks to fix flooding problem on U.S. 11

August 16, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - Arthur Kline and some of his neighbors are gearing up for an eminent domain battle with the Borough of Greencastle to stop a proposed storm water sewer system from coming through their yards.

The borough is trying to correct a decades-old flooding problem on U.S. 11 south near the intersection with South Washington Street.

During heavy rains, water collects beneath a railroad underpass on U.S. 11 in the borough's south end. In big rains, the storm water can reach three to four feet beneath the underpass, said Borough Manager Kenneth Myers.


Myers said Thursday that he has never used the law of eminent domain for borough projects and, while he is reluctant to do so, would proceed to get this one done.

Under the law the borough could move onto a homeowner's land 30 days after the eminent domain request was approved by the court. A court date would be set later for the borough and property owner to work out the purchase price, Myers said.

As many as five property owners are balking at turning over rights of way, Myers said.

Kline said he objects to a pipeline under his lawn because the ground is laced with limestone.

"They'll have to dig and blast and that will cause cracks in my brick house," he said.

Kline said when he moved into his house at 391 S. Washington St., there were cracks in the house but he repaired them all.

"The idea that they will drill and blast scares me," he said.

Kline said he wants the borough to find a different route for the system.

The project calls for installing a new storm water collection system that will divert the runoff into the stream that flows out of a small pond at Tayamentasachta, the Greencastle-Antrim School District's environmental studies facility on Leitersburg Street. The stream eventually flows into Conococheague Creek, Myers said.

Runoff from an area about one-third of the borough's total land mass plus a section of Antrim Township is causing the flooding, he said.

"We need to capture the water upstream to keep it from getting to the underpass," Myers said.

The collection system would include a series of new culverts and pipelines that would tie into existing borough storm water sewer lines, Myers said.

Some property owners along South Washington Street would be affected, he said.

The new lines would also run along Leitersburg Street.

The borough's problems don't end with the handful of upset property owners.

Myers estimates the cost of the project at $1.4 million. Three grants are involved including $186,000 from the Franklin County Commissioners' Community Block Grant Fund, $200,000 from PennDOT and $820,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

The borough received the $820,000 grant and put it in an interest-bearing bank account, but it missed the deadline for spending it. Now the state wants the money back plus the $88,000 it collected in interest while sitting in the bank.

Myers said the delay was caused when it took longer than expected to get state Department of Environmental Protection permits for the project.

Myers said he has already applied for a replacement grant, this one for $908,000 to make up for the original grant plus the lost interest.

Myers said Thursday he was confident the state will come through again. If the grant is approved, bids for the project will go out in November.

Construction could begin by spring, he said.

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