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Park plan, alley repairs on track

September 11, 2002|by STACEY DANZUSO

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A plan for a park along the Falling Spring and improvements to core alleys in downtown Chambersburg are on track for construction this spring.

The origin of the Village on the Falling Spring project dates back to 1995 and includes the Chambers Fort Park along the confluence of the Falling Spring and Conococheague Creek and improvements to Montgomery and Central alleys, which run behind the Franklin County Courthouse and King Street Church.

Gary Brennan, an engineer for Gannett Fleming, told the Chambersburg Borough Council Wednesday that he is hoping to have the design completed and necessary permits in hand by the end of next month so the project can be turned over to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation.

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If that happens, construction would begin in the spring, said Borough Manager Eric Oyer.

PennDOT is in charge of administering the $2 million in federal funds for the construction.

"We are still today on target to get the project to PennDOT by the end of October for spring construction," Oyer said. "The potential minefield is a series of land acquisitions."

The borough has been negotiating with four property owners who have a stake in the land and parking bounded by the alleys, including the Chambersburg Area Development Corp., M&T Bank, Franklin County and King Street Church.

"Parking is a premium. No one wants to lose parking," Oyer said.

That's why it's taken years to work out a plan that widens Montgomery Alley to 26 feet and also allows a wide enough turning radius for trucks heading to the rear of Harmon's Furniture, Oyer said.

The project also includes a park along the Falling Spring and Conococheague Creek, a metal bridge over the creek connecting the park to the proposed Rail-Trail, walkways, space for a veterans memorial and parking improvements.

A memorial to Benjamin Chambers, the borough's founder, is also part of the plan but will be funded through the efforts of a separate committee led by Mayor Tom Newcomer.

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