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Waynesboro Chamber to move from historic Toll Gate House

July 25, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce's plans to essentially more than double its office space by moving to the building next door also will allow for an office for the community's new downtown manager.

Main Street Waynesboro Inc. is prepared to start advertising for the downtown manager position and then review responses in August, Main Street Organizing Committee Chairman Ernie Brockmann said.

"We'll have an extra office over there, so we'll offer it to the Main Street manager up to two years," said MaryBeth Hockenberry, the chamber's executive director.

The Chamber of Commerce is making the Aug. 16 move to 5 N. Roadside Ave. to accommodate additional staffers and alleviate cramped quarters, Hockenberry said.

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"It was the right amount of space at the right price," she said.

The Chamber of Commerce has been operating with two full-time employees (Hockenberry and membership manager Carlene Willhide) and at least one regular volunteer. It also worked with an intern until recently.

"When we had 31/2 people in here, we couldn't do it," Hockenberry said. The Chamber of Commerce has two offices at the Toll Gate House.

Local attorney Roy Angle bought the historic Toll Gate House, 323 E. Main St., in 1969 for $6,900 and donated it to the Waynesboro Beneficial Fund for use by the Chamber of Commerce.

"A group of people got together (and) renovated it for the chamber. We've been here ever since," Hockenberry said.

The rent has cost $5 a year, with the Chamber of Commerce responsible for utilities and expenses, she said.

Hockenberry feels Angle knew the Chamber of Commerce would one day outgrow the space and included a stipulation allowing it to sublet the property with the beneficial fund's permission.

The Chamber of Commerce is offering the 600 square feet of furnished offices in the Toll Gate House, built circa 1850, to potential tenants. The building has two floors, an attic, one bathroom and a garden behind it that is maintained by a local garden club. The trim on the outside of the building will be painted.

"The chamber is just bursting at the seams," Hockenberry said.

The move, at $750 a month, is a "10-year solution" that allows for the public to be greeted by a receptionist, larger groups to meet in the board room and staff to work in more efficient offices, Hockenberry said.

The new offices also keep the chamber in close proximity to its electronic sign controlled by computers. The sign promotes community events and the work of nonprofit organizations.

The downtown manager, hired through Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development grants and local contributions, is supposed to be a key player in efforts to revitalize Waynesboro's downtown.

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