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Linking greenways left to municipalities

May 24, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. - The Appalachian and Tuscarora trails, state forests and parks, recreation facilities, historic and cultural sites, and other pieces of a Franklin County Greenway and Open Space Plan are already in place, but linking them will be mostly up to townships and boroughs.

"The plan is meant to be a kind of foundation for the municipalities to build on," Vince Rozzi, a registered landscape architect with Pashek Associates of Pittsburgh told a group of about 25 people who attended the first of two public meetings about the plan Wednesday. "The municipalities are going to drive the more-detailed implementation" of the plan, he said.

The plan, drafted by Pashek Associates, includes an existing state-designated bike route along U.S. 30 west from Chambersburg to the Fulton County border, but also calls for a proposed bike route between Waynesboro, Pa., and Greencastle, Pa., primarily along Letzburg Road, and another along Falling Spring Road east of Chambersburg.

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"You can't even walk that road without having problems," said Steve Emery, a resident of Guilford Township.

He said Falling Spring Road would need to be widened to make it safer for bicyclists.

"I'm excited some attention is being paid to this," Emery said.

There are different kinds of greenways, Rozzi said. Greenways can be for recreation, like hiking and biking trails; for conserving forests, wetlands and wildlife habitats; or purely aesthetics, like rural landscapes, according to a summary of the plan.

In some cases, land might have to be acquired or landowners persuaded to participate in the voluntary plan, Rozzi said. Some greenways might not be accessible to the public, he said.

Harry Rotz of Chambersburg said he could envision some landowners balking at the idea of having part of their property open to the public.

DeEtta Antoun of Citizens for a Quality Environment and others at the meeting said the plan should be on the county Web site so that residents can view it and submit comments.

"Washington County is way behind you," said Sally Hatch of Hagerstown, a member of the Antietam Creek Watershed Alliance. Hatch and her husband, Bob, attended the meeting to see how greenway planning can be applied in Washington County, she said.

"We're fighting to keep green corridors from becoming gray corridors everyday," she said.

The plan has to be written in its final form and a public hearing held before it can be adopted, County Planning Director Phil Tarquino said. No date for a hearing has been set, he said.

Once the county approves the plan, municipalities can adopt it and use it as a mechanism to apply for grants and other assistance to preserve or create greenways and open space within their borders, said Sherri Clayton, a senior planner for the county.

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