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Franklin Co. Commissioners temporarily moving to bank building

January 07, 2004|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

The Franklin County Board of Commissioners will move next door to the former M&T Bank offices on Memorial Square later this year, although the date has yet to be set.

The board last week inked a three-year lease with Foxx Hill LLC of Chambersburg, with options to extend the lease, if necessary, Commissioner Cheryl Plummer said. The commissioners have to move from their suite of offices on the second floor of the courthouse annex on Lincoln Way East, which is being converted into a fourth courtroom for Judge Carol L. Van Horn.

In November, the board approved more than $300,000 in contracts for the courtroom, with the project expected to be completed by July 1.

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"We start paying rent once we enter the building," County Administrator John Hart said Monday.

"It's a good lease, right around $10 a square foot, which is a good rate for downtown Chambersburg," Plummer said. That's the annual rate for the 11,240-square-foot space, meaning the county will pay $112,400 a year for the space, which includes the first floor of the building and the former bank's board meeting room on the second floor, Plummer said.

Plummer said that board room is not big enough for public meetings and Foxx Hill will build a first-floor meeting area with the teller spaces being removed. The owners also will install a handicapped-accessible, first- floor bathroom and the lease comes with six parking spaces behind the five-story building.

"We're pleased to find space so close to the courthouse," Plummer said. "People expect us to be accessible."

Hart said the rented space will not be used exclusively by the commissioners office, but the county was not prepared Monday to announce what other offices will move into the bank building.

The commissioners' office said in November that a permanent location for the commissioners and staff has yet to be decided upon. County-owned property that was under consideration was the second floor of the Administrative Annex on North Second Street.

Four agriculture-related offices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the federal Farm Service Agency, the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Franklin County Conservation District were located in suites there, but moved out in 2003.

Those four offices occupied about 2,500 square feet and brought in $1,277.83 in monthly rent to the county, according to county records.

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