"We need to have people come to town for a purpose," Cook said.
While Waynesboro does not have the advantage of a great battle having been fought there, or a nationally-known industry, several of those at the meeting said there are aspects of the town that could be exploited as part of a revitalization effort.
"I'm big on history and that's one of the reasons we moved here," said John Poniske, who came here recently from Pittsburgh. He said there is little promotion of local history.
Others said the town needs to preserve and rehabilitate its 19th century architecture, while others said Waynesboro needs more and better restaurants, festivals and special events.
MainStreet Waynesboro Inc. and the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce are behind the workshops and the borough has provided funding for the consulting services of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, a nonprofit group that helps communities run MainStreet programs.
Ed LeClear of the center had those at the workshop break down into small groups and list their concerns about and idea for improving the downtown.
Loitering, poor lighting, vacant storefronts and lack of attractions were among problems receiving frequent mention. Waynesboro High School student Colleen Bradley said slow-moving traffic was one of the issues at her table.
"Our traffic lights are really out of whack," she said.
"We have parking, we just need to find it," said Laura Fawks, another student. While there are free parking areas downtown, some at the meeting said better signs are needed to direct motorists to them.
LeClear collected information from residents and merchants on 48 attributes of Waynesboro. He said he will analyze the information before the next meeting on Jan. 24 when those in attendance will be asked their opinions on the strengths and weaknesses of the downtown.
The third meeting on Feb. 21 will get into such specifics as design and historic preservation, business retention, special events and volunteer organization, he said. By the fourth meeting on March 21, he said there will be a draft of a vision statement that is necessary to accessing up to $175,000 in state funding to hire a downtown manager for five years.
The community will also have to raise a $90,000 match to be eligible for the money, he said. While a manager will help, LeClear said the success of a revitalization program is up to residents and merchants.
"I've been through this before and we have not been successful in previous attempts," state Rep. Patrick Fleagle, R-90th, said at the beginning of the workshop. Fleagle, however, said it is an effort worth making until it bears fruit.
"If it was easy, it would have been done before," he said.