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Burough's rail-trail plans still rolling forward

August 28, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Planners of a 1.1-mile rail-trail in downtown Chambersburg hope to take ownership of the CSX property by the end of next month so construction on the long-awaited project can begin this spring.

"We're coming down the home stretch," said Mayor Tom Newcomer, who chairs the Rail-Trail Design Committee.

He said Tuesday that the borough hopes to receive a quitclaim deed from the railroad by the end of September, clearing the way for the borough to apply for the necessary permits from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

In the meantime, the committee is looking at all phases, from lighting to infrastructure, to keep the price tag to the $633,000 earmarked for the project in state and federal grants.

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Newcomer said redecking the trestle bridge over Conococheague Creek, which will be the focal point of the trail, will cost $75,000 to $100,000. The committee would still like to cover the bridge at an additional cost of $35,000 to $50,000, he said.

Newcomer said certain items might have to be delayed until the borough can apply for more grant money.

"The plans call for 50 lights. We might just want to do 40 at the start," he said.

Councilman Allen Frantz said he would ask the Franklin County Builders' Association to keep the redecking of the trestle bridge in mind as a community service project members could do.

The project has been in the works since 1996, when CSX decided it would abandon the tracks running through downtown Chambersburg.

Once the final train ran through town in November 2000, planning began in earnest.

Planners had hoped construction would begin this summer, but Newcomer said delays in getting the deed have pushed back the timeline.

He said if the permitting process moves smoothly, bids will go out by the end of the year and construction can begin in the late spring on the trail, which will run from South Street to Commerce Street.

The trail is slated to be a 10- to 12-foot-wide paved surface to allow for all kinds of recreational activities from running to roller-blading.

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