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Pennsylvania National Guard unit's move to new armory delayed

December 01, 2006|by JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, PA. - Occupancy of the Pennsylvania National Guard's new armory in South Mountain, Pa., has been delayed by about two years, leaving the future of the Waynesboro armory in limbo longer.

The state's Department of Military and Veterans Affairs confirmed last year that it would close the Waynesboro and Gettysburg, Pa., armories when its new facility is operable. That was originally projected to be in late 2007.

Local municipalities began exploring the possibility of acquiring the Waynesboro site when they learned that a community's organizations, government and schools are the first entities given the opportunity to purchase surplus property.

The armory on Pa. 316 can't be sold until at least 2010, after it has been vacated and cleaned, said Mark Austin, the military and veterans affairs department's director of facilities and engineering.

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"We have a letter into them that says we're interested and to let us know when it's available," Waynesboro Borough Manager Lloyd Hamberger said.

Possible uses for the armory, built in 1936, will be included in a joint comprehensive plan being developed for the borough and surrounding Washington Township, Pa., according to Township Manager Michael Christopher.

"We've indicated we're interested in a joint police department being out there," Christopher said. Municipal services also could be headquartered there, he said.

Hamberger said that state Rep. Patrick E. Fleagle, who left office Thursday, had been working with the municipalities concerning the armory's sale.

Hamberger said state Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin, has been another contact regarding the prospect.

The Pennsylvania National Guard's Battery B, 1-108th Field Artillery, has detachments in Waynesboro and Gettysburg. The unit is expected to move to the South Mountain armory in 2009, Austin said.

Surplus state property is assessed before being offered at fair market value.

Staff Writer Kate S. Alexander contributed to this story.

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