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Houses near hospital to be torn down

February 02, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Four Coldbrook Avenue houses owned by Chambersburg Hospital will be torn down this spring to make way for 109 parking spaces, but bigger plans for the hospital's future are being reassessed.

The Chambersburg Borough Council on Monday reviewed the hospital's plan to demolish the houses, at 101, 105, 109 and 135 N. Coldbrook Ave. The hospital also asked the borough to vacate a section of an alley - Goshen Court between Nelson and Duncan streets - to allow the parking area to be set farther back from the street.

Borough Planning Director Phil Wolgemuth said the hospital plans to build a decorative fence along Coldbrook Avenue as well. The subdivision and land development plan for the demolition of the buildings and construction of the parking lot will be on the consent agenda for the Monday, Feb. 11, meeting.

The council, however, will have to pass an ordinance to vacate the section of Goshen Court. A vote on that ordinance also is scheduled for Feb. 11.

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Borough Secretary Tanya Mickey said no public hearing will be required for the ordinance to vacate the alley because the hospital owns the properties adjacent to the site of the proposed parking lot. The borough will need an easement from the hospital to service utilities lines that run overhead and underground along the path of the alley, she said.

Wolgemuth said he expected the hospital to submit a land development plan for an expansion early this year, but the current economic climate could delay the hospital's expansion, which was to include a six-story patient-care addition.

"Unfortunately, Summit Health is not immune to the nation's financial crisis, including significant changes in capital markets, the downgrading of bond insurers and the volatility of the bond markets on their ability to sell bonds in the short run," Summit Health President Norman Epstein said in a statement.

"Given the ripple effects, we are currently undergoing a three-month review process to reassess our needs for the next 10 years, with the potential of delaying any project decisions, as well as limiting our borrowing," Epstein said.

The parking area is expected to be completed within two or three months of the houses being demolished, according to the hospital statement.

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