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Business people hope to put Rouzerville on the map

July 15, 2004|by RICHARD BELISLE

waynesboro@herald-mail.com

ROUZERVILLE, Pa. - Where is Rouzerville?

That's the question nine Rouzerville-area business owners hope to answer as they try to put together a business association to promote their unincorporated community east of Waynesboro, Pa., and put it on the retail map.

The first thing organizers say they have to do is determine the boundaries of the Washington Township, Pa., community.

"Nobody really knows where Rouzerville is," said Robert Backer, who with his wife, Ann, owns Blondie's, a restaurant at 11737 Old Route 16. The Backers and Daniel A. Smith, general manager of Cosmic Skate and Play at 11870 Buchanan Trail East, came up with the idea to promote the community's small businesses.

They hope to get rolling before Rouzerville Commons opens, now scheduled for fall 2005. The new shopping center, which will be anchored by a Wal-Mart Supercenter and a Lowe's home improvement store, is expected to change the rural nature of that section of Washington Township.

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Robert Backer said Rouzerville is "just a nebulous dot on the map. We have to define it, make it more than just Wal-Mart and Lowe's. We are fast-forwarding before they get here."

Rouzerville has no formal boundaries.

According to the Backers, Rouzerville is a stretch of Pa. 16 running west to east from about its intersection with Old Forge Road to some point beyond Red Run Park. It runs south past Old Route 16 to Airport Road, they said.

Rouzerville is listed on Pennsylvania's Official Transportation and Tourism Map. It is three-fourths of an inch along Pa. 16 east from Waynesboro.

The nine business owners make up the nucleus of the new association. They were among 15 owners invited to a June 9 organizational meeting, Ann Backer said. More are being recruited, she said.

A letter to prospective members signed by the Backers and Smith, says the Rouzerville Business Association (RBA) "is being created to help promote, educate and support local merchants within the Rouzerville area."

The association would promote community events and multiple avenues for group advertising, according to the letter.

"As we all know, Wal-Mart will soon be coming to the Rouzerville area. Here is our chance to come together as an association to help each other promote our businesses for the new customers Wal-Mart will bring," the letter says.

In an effort to make people aware of Rouzerville's existence, the association is asking the Washington Township Supervisors for help in getting the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to put up road signs directing motorists to the community.

The members want signs at Exit 5 on Interstate 81 in Greencastle, Pa.; at Pa. 16 in Blue Ridge Summit, Pa.; at the intersection of Pa. 16 and Pa. 116 in Carroll Valley in Adams County, Pa.,; and in Waynesboro at Pa. 16 and Pa. 316.

Michael Christopher, Washington Township manager, said the association would let merchants pool resources and cooperate with each other.

Rouzerville will have its own identification as the retail center for southern Franklin County, Christopher said.

"Wal-Mart and Lowe's will put Rouzerville on the map," said Gerald Zeigler, zoning enforcement officer for the township.

Wayne Heights Mall, Waynesboro Mall and downtown Waynesboro merchants all have business associations, Robert Backer said. He said he checked the bylaws of each one in drafting rules for the Rouzerville group. "We took the best of what they had and added some of our own," he said.

Smith said the association will help Rouzerville's small businesses join together for advertising. "Small businesses can't afford to advertise every day," he said.

Many Rouzerville businesses are on side roads, where they are not visible. The association, through joint advertising, will help better identify those businesses, Smith said.

The association, by promoting the small businesses, will be able to attract Wal-Mart and Lowe's customers to the village from outlying areas of Smithsburg and Cascade in Washington County, Emmitsburg in Frederick County, Md., and Fairfield in Adams County, Pa., Smith said.

The nine members have scheduled an association meeting for 6 p.m. today at the Rouzerville Ruritan Club to elect officers.

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