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Rendell delivers check for street repairs in Chambersburg

March 04, 2005|BY DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell stopped in Chambersburg on Thursday to hand over a ceremonial check for $690,000 that will help pay for the reconstruction of Roland Avenue.

The money comes from the state's Hometown Streets and Safe Routes to Schools program.

The project, which Borough Manager Eric Oyer said will have a final price of about $1.25 million, will reconstruct and widen a three-quarter-mile stretch of the road between U.S. 11 and Scotland Road, add curbs and sidewalks, bike lanes, trees and landscaping.

"It's always a good thing to get kids off the street," Council President William McLaughlin said after the presentation. Chambersburg Area School District Superintendent Edwin Sponseller said hundreds of children use the street daily to walk or ride bicycles to Faust Junior High School.

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McLaughlin said the borough also will replace the underground water, sewer and gas lines and the borough's overhead electric lines may be moved to one side of the avenue.

Rendell said the state recently approved 39 Safe Routes to Schools grants totaling about $10 million. He said the borough's willingness to put its own money behind the project was one reason the application was approved.

"The borough has invested $500,000 already to repair parts of Roland Avenue," Rendell said. "One of the key things we look at is the local effort."

The project also includes a traffic signal at the intersection of Roland Avenue and Scotland and Woodstock roads.

In the borough, property owners are responsible for the cost of installing curbs and sidewalks along their street frontage. Because the grant is federal money administered through the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, property owners will only have to provide a 20 percent match for curbs and sidewalks, McLaughlin said.

Widening the street, however, will require the removal of mature trees that are within the right of way. Resident Nathan Rotz said he will lose trees that are perhaps 100 years old.

The plan does call for replanting trees along the road, "which is an important part of the character of the north part of town," Rotz said.

"Improving drainage is another thing I'm looking forward to," said Rotz, who said rain and melting snow frequently leave standing water in front of his property.

"I'd like to get it done this construction season," McLaughlin said. "We might as well have the whole town torn up at once."

McLaughlin was referring to several other major road projects under way in the area, including the extension of Norland Avenue, the construction of Exit 17 on Interstate 81 and the U.S. 30 widening project.

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