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Grant to be used to hire manager

June 03, 2006|by DON AINES

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - A state grant of $110,000 will allow Main Street Waynesboro Inc. to hire a downtown manager to help shepherd efforts to revitalize the borough's business district.

Main Street Waynesboro President Jim Stein on Friday announced that Main Street had been approved for the two-year grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

"Today marks the beginning of a five-year funding program that will allow us to hire a Main Street manager ... The board's goal is to begin our search for a manager by Aug. 1," Stein said.

The manager will oversee the physical design, promotion, organization and economic restructuring of the downtown, Stein said.

In addition to the grant, the borough, local businesses, organizations and individuals contributed matching funds of $90,000, a prerequisite for getting the state funding. Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said the borough contributed $15,000, and the First National Bank of Greencastle another $7,500 to the match.

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The five-year program will have a budget of $275,000, Stein said, with Main Street Waynesboro able to apply for smaller grants in years three, four and five. Main Street Organizing Committee Chairman Ernie Brockmann said the organization also hopes to raise another $60,000 in local contributions during that time.

Brockmann said Main Street Waynesboro has another $30,000 state facade grant available for downtown improvements.

"We've had a lot of new interest and new investment (downtown) in the last two years, and this should increase that interest," said MaryBeth Hockenberry, executive director of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce.

The grant comes on top of last month's announcement that the Chamber and Main Street had been approved for a $500,000 Downtown Business Incentive Grant secured by state Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin/Adams/York. Twenty-five businesses picked up guidelines for the grant program when they became available Thursday, Hockenberry said.

Businesses can received rent rebates of up to $12,000 the first year, followed by $6,600 in the second and $3,300 in the third year, Hockenberry said. There also are grants of up to $25,000 for the purchase of a business, and matching grants of up to $50,000 to expand, equip or renovate businesses, she said.

To qualify, businesses must be "high-traffic retail" and open on Fridays until 8 p.m. and Saturdays until 5 p.m. Surveys have indicated people want more restaurants, coffee shops, boutiques and specialty retailers downtown, Hockenberry said.

There now are 144 businesses in the downtown, which extends from Clayton Avenue in the east to Fairview Avenue in the west and one block north and south of Main Street, Hockenberry said.

Revitalization does not mean the downtown will have the big retailers that lined the streets in decades past, Hamberger said.

"We're looking toward the future, not trying to re-create the past," he said.

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