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Ground broken on agricultural complex

June 16, 2007|by DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A groundbreaking ceremony was held Thursday for the Franklin County Agricultural Heritage Center, expected to open in the spring or summer of 2008.

"This complex will bring together all the agriculture-related services and provide a one-stop shop for our farmers and for the public seeking information and assistance," County Commissioner G. Warren Elliott said in a press release.

Actual construction on the two-story, 14,000-square-foot building on Franklin Farm Lane could begin next week, Commissioner Bob Thomas said. In April, the county awarded contracts totaling $2,185,500 for the center, with the $1,663,000 general contract being awarded to Palmer Construction of McConnellsburg, Pa.

The center is being built on the footprint of a demolished county building that once housed the Penn State Agricultural Extension Service and other offices.

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The county budgeted $2 million in bond funds for the project this year. The Franklin County Conservation District committed another $300,000 to the project, and a campaign to solicit donations raised another $300,000, county officials said in April.

"Our services are growing each year, and this new building is sorely needed so that we can continue to encourage good farming practices and to assist farmers with their conservation practices," said Ernie Tarner, executive director of the conservation district.

The Penn State Agricultural Extension Service will have meeting and food preparation space in the building, which Extension Agent Robert Kessler said will be used for educational programming for youths, families and farmers.

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