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Downtown manager position considered by Waynesboro council

November 06, 2003|by RICHARD F. BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Up to three new police officers to control downtown Waynesboro's "nuisance" problems and money to hire a part-time downtown manager to help clean up the "decay" that has crept into Waynesboro's business district will be discussed at a public budget hearing Nov. 19 at 7 p.m., Borough Council President Douglas Tengler said Wednesday.

Tengler said the nuisance problems stem from loitering along Main Street that he said is unattractive, harmful to business and intimidating to citizens.

Tengler also spoke of passing laws banning cruising by vehicles to reduce noise downtown.

The idea of hiring a part-time downtown manager to coordinate the promotional efforts of various volunteer organizations was posed by Harry Morningstar Jr., a member of Main Street Waynesboro Inc. and a local businessman.

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"There are many volunteer efforts by volunteer organizations in town and they're making progress," Morningstar said. A downtown manager would have the energy and time to lead and coordinate the groups, he said. Downtown managers also seek grants and promote the business community.

"The decay of the downtown is costing us money," Tengler said. Every year the borough has to reduce property assessments of downtown buildings that become empty.

Mayor Louis Barlup Jr. said there are many communities smaller than Waynesboro that seem to be successful because they have downtown managers.

"I see it as an investment," said Councilman Clint Barkdoll. "It's very important for the future of the borough. We'd get back $5 for every $1 we invested."

Morningstar said a part-time manager would cost between $15,000 and $20,000 a year or about $2.50 a year for each of the borough's 9,000 residents.

The call for the budget hearing also includes raising salaries of relief fire truck drivers for the Waynesboro Fire Department from minimum wage to $7 an hour to make them competitive with other area fire departments, Tengler said.

Morningstar told the council that the tree planting program is being extended eastward along both sides of Main Street from Clayton Avenue past Waynesboro Hospital and including the former East Junior High property across from the hospital.

Main Street Waynesboro has raised enough money to buy and plant 38 more trees including varieties of maple, pear, cherry, linden and lilac, Morningstar said.

The group also is ready to install more Victorian street lamps. That project began with eight lamps on the Public Square and spread outward. They will now be installed from Broad Street to Clayton along Main Street and from Grant to Franklin streets, he said.

The goal is to have the lights stretch along Main Street "from borough line to borough line," he said.

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