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Founders statue ready for Chambersburg 'homecoming'

October 19, 2007|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - "The Homecoming," a statue honoring the founding fathers of Chambersburg, was lowered into place by a crane Thursday at Fort Chambers Park and will receive its official dedication Saturday during the borough's AppleFest celebration.

The statue by sculptor Wayne E. Hyde of Bedford, Pa., depicts an aging Benjamin Chambers welcoming home his son, James, and grandson, Benjamin, from their service in the Revolutionary War in 1781. The dedication ceremony will begin at 10:15 a.m., Assistant Borough Manager David Finch said.

The elder Chambers founded what became Chambersburg in 1734.

The Founding Family Memorial Statue cost approximately $125,000 and is being paid for with private donations, Finch said. It will be the centerpiece of the Village on the Falling Spring, a project that includes an expanded Fort Chambers Park behind the Rosedale Parking lot west of the first block of North Main Street.

Crews have been working this week on landscaping and paving for the village project. The park, at the confluence of the Falling Spring and Conococheague Creek, is where Benjamin Chambers built a mill and private fort in what was then the western edge of the American frontier.

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The Village on the Falling Spring project includes other downtown improvements, such as a foot bridge across the Conococheague, walkways, alley improvements and replacing overhead electrical wires with underground conduit. Federal grants paid for the majority of the project, according to borough officials.

The bronze statue stands in the middle of a concrete circle surrounded by pavers, many of them bearing the names of people or companies that contributed to the project. Corporate, family and individual pavers are still being sold to help pay for the statue

Sand-filled holes around the base will eventually become the foundations for bollards to protect the statue from careless drivers in the parking lot, Finch said. There is also lighting for the statue and flagpole, he said.

Borough Council President William McLaughlin said security cameras also will be installed to monitor the park and deter vandals.

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