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Falling Spring project moving forward

March 29, 2006|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The long-delayed Village on the Falling Spring project has gotten under way in recent weeks with the third and final contract on the $5.2 million project expected to be awarded next month.

"The entire intent of the project is to bring about public amenities to spur private amenities that will spur private investment in the downtown," Borough Manager Eric Oyer said. The project has been in the planning for a decade and was originally to be a commercial village along the stream.

The project is slated for completion late this year or early 2007, Oyer said.

On Tuesday, a Fayetteville Contractors crew was installing underground electrical conduit in the Rosedale parking lot near where the Falling Spring joins the Conococheague Creek. The company was awarded the $1,143,699 contract to install electrical lines and stormwater drainage system, Oyer said. The borough's Water and Sewer Department is doing the work related to those utilities, he said.

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The other contract awarded so far is $1,616,200 for streamside development to Clearwater Construction of State College, Pa., Oyer said. That includes a foot bridge across the Conococheague connecting an expanded Chamber's Fort Park to the borough's rail trail, he said.

That company will also move an existing foot bridge on the Falling Spring upstream and build a retaining wall along the Falling Spring, Oyer said.

Yet to be awarded is a site development contract for curbs and sidewalks, landscaping, paving and other "finishing touches," Oyer said. The apparent low bidder for that job is Fayetteville Contractors, which bid $1,436,475, he said.

Oyer said the Borough Council will likely award the contract at its April 10 meeting.

The borough has more than $3 million in federal funding for the utilities and streamside development contracts. Former U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster appropriated $2 million for the project years ago and the borough got permission to reallocate about $1 million originally designated for improvements to Black Avenue, Oyer said.

The borough is paying for the sewer and water utility work, along with engineering, construction management and inspections costs, Oyer said.

The project includes improvements to Montgomery Alley on the east side of North Main Street and extending west to the Conococheague. Chamber's Fort will be enlarged with more greenspace on the east side of the creek and there will be walkways along the stream, improved parking and other amenities.

A separate part of the project is a life-size statue at the entrance of the park depicting town founder Benjamin Chambers welcoming son James and grandson Benjamin back from the Revolutionary War. A full-size clay statue has been made by Fulton County sculptor Wayne Hyde and a mold will soon be made for the bronze statue, said former mayor Tom Newcomer, a member of the Founding Fathers Memorial Statue Committee.

About $50,000 has been raised through private donations for the statue so far, with about $60,000 more needed, Newcomer said. Much of the money has been raised through the sale of memorial pavers and bricks which will encircle the statue, he said.

Anyone interested in contributing to the statue project can do so by contacting him or the borough, Newcomer said. The committee's goal is to have the statue in place by the summer or fall of 2007, he said.

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