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Chambersburg gets grant for trail expansion

July 08, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster on Friday presented the borough of Chambersburg with a $330,000 grant to expand the Chambersburg Rail Trail project.

The grant, which came from the Federal Highway Trust Fund, will fund the expansion of the existing Rail Trail from 1.1 miles to 1.7 miles, according to Shuster, R-Pa.

The current Rail Trail runs from Commerce Street to South Street. Bill McLaughlin, president of the Chambersburg Borough Council, said that the expansion will extend the trail to South Main Street.

Tom Newcomer, former Chambersburg mayor and chair of the Rail Trail Advisory Committee, said that the new addition will feature amenities such as trees and greenery. Additionally, he said that the borough plans to include lighting along the new expansion, making it accessible 24 hours a day.

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According to Newcomer, budget constraints forced the borough to cut back on amenities during the construction of the existing Rail Trail, including benches and lighting in certain areas. Newcomer said that Friday's grant should provide enough funding to complete the new addition without the need to cut such amenities.

While Shuster specified that the grant is expressly for the expansion of the trail, he said that if the borough spends the grant wisely, the borough may apply remaining funds to any portion of the project.

Newcomer hopes that the grant will provide enough funding to both complete the expansion and add the amenities foregone on the initial Rail Trail.

According to state Rep. Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin/Cumberland, funding was the greatest difficulty for the borough in planning the expansion.

With funding secured, the borough anticipates the project to move swiftly. Borough officials project that the expansion should be complete in two or three years, citing that the new section would not need to accommodate any road or waterway crossings.

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