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Trail project gets new life in Chambersburg

March 17, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Further fine-tuning on Chambersburg's rail-trail project could allow its entire 1.1-mile length to be surfaced and for work to begin on the long-delayed project this spring.

On Feb. 28, the Chambersburg Borough Council accepted a bid of $844,592 from George S. Hann and Sons of Fort Littleton, Pa., although the borough has just $661,000 in federal funds available for construction of the trail, which will run from South Street north to Commerce Avenue. The bid was accepted with a list of suggested changes aimed at bringing the price down to fit the budget.

Several council members opposed the move, however, because the proposed changes would include not putting a gravel base on the northern part of the trail from King Street to Commerce Avenue. The rest of the route would be asphalt.

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On Monday night, the council reached a consensus on changes in the contract that will allow for the surface of the trail to be completed.

"A good solution now is better than a perfect solution too late," Assistant Borough Manager David Finch told the council. He said the borough needed to get the project going before federal or state officials decided the money could be spent elsewhere on other active projects.

The biggest saving in the project will be $125,435 for lighting, which would be installed when additional funding becomes available. Conduit for the electrical lines to power the lights will be installed, according to the plan.

A canopy for a railroad trestle was envisioned to be added later, but the recommendation to council removed another $25,000 for the installation of supports for the canopy. The trestle will be renovated with a deck installed.

The total for the items removed from the project came to more than $216,000, reducing the project cost to $626,822.

"This was a project with a tremendous wish list to it," Council President William McLaughlin said. "It may not be the ideal trail, but it will be a good trail."

The borough has spent $97,000 in design and engineering costs for the trial in the more than eight years since the idea was first proposed, a figure McLaughlin called "astounding for such a small project."

Mayor Thomas Newcomer said earlier this month he has written U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., seeking more federal grant money to complete the project as designed.

The council will not finalize the contract with Hann until the changes are written into the contract and it is reviewed by the borough's attorney, according to Borough Secretary Tanya Mickey.

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