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Senator's warning compels sidewalk meeting

December 06, 2002|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO - Waynesboro, Washington Township and Renfrew Museum officials were scheduled to meet behind closed doors with state Sen. Terry Punt Thursday night to hash out differences and resurrect a plan to build a mile-long walkway between the borough and township.

Punt called the meeting.

Lloyd Hamberger, borough manager for Waynesboro, said Thursday the meeting will be closed so the parties can speak freely in the hopes that differences can be worked out.

The principles have met twice before in public and nothing got done, Hamberger said.

Punt secured $325,000 in grants to build the sidewalk. In October he wrote an angry letter to local officials saying he was going to pull the grants unless they came to an agreement.

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Proponents, including Punt, say the walkway is needed as a safety measure.

Opponents say it's not needed and Renfrew officials are fighting over fears the walkway will take up too much of the museum's historic property.

Washington Township officials favor the sidewalk, but the borough council is split on it.

In his letter Punt said, "Regarding the project and the pulling of the funding, I have concluded I have no choice but to do so. Due to the hankerings of Renfrew and the indecisiveness of the borough, I am left with no alternative. I would rather take the funds and put them in some community who will welcome them."

Punt has not actually recalled the grants, leaving the project in limbo, Hamberger said. "The money is on hold. It's still doable," he said.

"We wouldn't be meeting if it was dead," Mike Christopher, Washington Township administrator, said.

If the walkway were built, it would run from the Waynesboro Mall on the borough's eastern edge, along the south side of Pa. 16, through the edge of Renfrew to Welty Road in Washington Township.

It would effectively connect Waynesboro Mall with Wayne Heights Mall.

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