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Former bank to become Heritage Center

December 27, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

A Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grant of $250,000 for the Chambersburg Heritage Center was presented to the borough Monday.

The funds come from the department's Anchor Building Program and will be used for the restoration of the 1915 marble building on Memorial Square, according to state Rep. Jeff Coy, D-Franklin. The former bank building will become the Chambersburg Heritage Center.

The center is part of a $3.8 million project that will include 10,000 square feet of office space for the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa. Ground was broken on the project in August and it is expected to be completed in the summer of 2004.

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The center will feature exhibits of Franklin County's history since the 18th century, including its role in the early frontier, the Underground Railroad, the Civil War and transportation. A short film about the county's history also is planned for the center.

"An estimated 30,000 visitors will come through the Heritage Center every year," Coy said Monday. "These people will shop in our stores, eat in our restaurants, stay at our hotels and inject a lot of money into Franklin County's economy."

"This grant is very aptly named," Chambersburg Area Development Corp. President Bill Snell said Monday. "When completed, the Chambersburg Heritage Center will be an anchor for downtown Chambersburg."

Snell thanked Coy and State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin, who was not at the ceremony, for helping secure the funding. Snell said the money will be administered as a low-interest loan through the borough to the development corporation.

The money paid back to the borough will go into a revolving loan fund to assist other downtown businesses with revitalization projects.

"It's a win-win situation for Franklin County," Coy said.

The project has received $1.25 million in federal funding, along with state, local and private funding, Coy said.

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