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Borough, township officials review survey results

August 01, 2007|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - When Borough of Waynesboro residents were asked where they take friends who are visiting from out of town, the leading answer was Renfrew Museum and Park on the east end of town.

Other frequent responses, however, were Chambersburg, Hagerstown and "out of town."

Municipal officials sat down Tuesday night to further determine how to make the community more appealing for not only visitors, but also the people who live there and will live there in the future.

"To me, we have to figure out how we are going to manage growth. We haven't done one iota to manage growth around here," said Randy Kuhn, a member of the Washington Township Planning Commission.

Comments about growth and its management were key parts of a survey that went to nearly 1,000 households in the borough and neighboring Washington Township, Pa.

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"It was very clear that they thought residential growth was excessive or very excessive," said Kelly Moughalian, who compiled results with the engineering firm Spotts, Stevens and McCoy of Reading, Pa.

The borough and township have contracted with Spotts, Stevens and McCoy for a joint comprehensive plan to serve as a "road map" for zoning and planning decisions in the next decade.

Twenty-two percent of selected borough residents returned their surveys, while 44 percent of township residents returned theirs. The survey recipients, representing 10 percent of households, randomly were chosen earlier this summer.

Moughalian commended the township on its return rate.

"It's really almost unheard of that you get that kind of response," she said. "The township people were so excited to take this survey."

Borough

Sixty-five percent of the borough's respondents said they have lived in the area for more than 20 years.

By margins of at least 10 percent, they said they do not patronize the downtown for clothing, hardware, food, recreation or financial services. In fact, the only thing they do patronize downtown is the library, according to survey results.

The statement "There is an adequate amount of restaurants in the borough" resulted in 58 percent of respondents marking "disagree." The statement found 20 percent of people answering "undecided."

Also, "The downtown offers a variety of goods and services" had a 73 percent rate of "disagree" and 18 percent rate of "undecided."

Borough residents did express pride in regard to Center Square.

Township

Of the 534 surveys mailed in the township, 233 were returned to Spotts, Stevens and McCoy for its compilation.

"Apparently, residents thought there should be a combined police force between Waynesboro and Washington Township," Moughalian said.

They supported a municipal government complex with all services on one site, as long as it didn't mean a significant tax increase, she said.

Eighty percent of respondents praised the recycling center, and 43 percent said the township and borough should buy the Pennsylvania National Guard armory on Pa. 316.

Shared

More than 50 percent of respondents to combined questions expressed satisfaction with fire and medical services. They said they have a "feeling of safety."

More than 60 percent were dissatisfied with the volume of traffic.

"Traffic was one of the No. 1 comments that came up," Moughalian said.

Respondents pushed for more manufacturing entities in the community.

"I suppose that's been a big issue with the Landis Tool Co. moving (to Washington County)," Moughalian said. "That's been on people's minds."

About 60 percent of respondents said housing affordability is an issue.

Handwritten comments on the surveys often criticized taxing and property assessments, but the respondents weren't completely opposed to increased taxes, Moughalian said.

"Surprisingly, people agreed they would support a tax increase ... for the services they feel are necessary or important to them," she said.

Those included road improvements and preserving agricultural land in the township. Even 58 percent of borough respondents said they would support increased taxes to preserve agricultural land in the township.

Surveys asked participants to identify "treasures" in the community. Many lamented the loss of East Junior High School on Pa. 16.

"Renfrew, by far, was the largest treasure or the treasure that came up the most," Moughalian said. Other parks also fared well on the surveys, she said.

"That's what people seemed to treasure the most - the park system," said Glenn Neuhs of Spotts, Stevens and McCoy.

Nasty and "interesting" comments appeared on surveys as well, Moughalian said.

"Some of the surveys, people wrote all around the sides of the papers," she said. "I didn't have a way to record that."




Survey says ...



The following were the top responses to the question "What special places exist in the downtown?" in a recent Borough of Waynesboro survey. Ninety surveys were returned.

· Center Square - 9

· Waynesboro Theater - 6

· Social Clubs (Elks, Eagles) - 6

· Candy Kitchen - 5

· American Legion - 4

· Memorial Park - 4

· 1912 Hoover House - 3

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