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Greencastle fills council vacancy, extends Williamson Avenue project

May 06, 2008|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - The Greencastle Borough Council became a board of seven members again Monday when it voted to appoint Michele Emmett to the seat vacated by Nancy Dunn in March.

Emmett, a resident of Greencastle since 1992, was the only eligible candidate to apply for the vacancy by the April 17 deadline set by the council and will serve what remains of Dunn's term as the only female member of the council.

Judge Duane Cunningham swore Emmett in to her new role as public servant at the top of the agenda, giving her plenty of time to adjust to her new chair.

"I hope that I can be an asset to the group," she said.

Project deadlines and extensions marked Emmett's first meeting as a member of the borough council.

In a 5-1 vote, the council voted to extend the Williamson Avenue sidewalk project deadline one year, from June 2, 2008, to June 2, 2009.

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Vice President Paul Schemel was absent.

Adding sidewalks along Williamson Avenue has been a borough discussion item for more than two years.

With concerns about other sidewalk and paving projects peppering borough agendas in 2007 and 2008, the board voted Monday to walk on the side of caution.

Council President Charles Eckstine said adding a year to the deadline should give the borough a better sense of what is needed along the street and give residents time to prepare for their end of the deal.

In Greencastle, if the borough finds a need for sidewalks along a street, it requires property owners along that street to pay the expense.

Councilman Craig Myers voted against the extension, saying it is just one more thing to delay an already drawn-out process.

"We have drug this out for how long, two years? Until this is done, we are looking at four to five years," he said. "I say we stand firm on something, put this to rest and say 'sidewalks or no sidewalks.'"

Eckstine said it is unclear how much sidewalk will be needed along Williamson Avenue and the extension proposed would give the borough's engineering firm, Frederick Seibert and Associates of Greencastle, time to analyze the project and make a recommendation.

"We want to do the right thing and there are some property owners that if we require them to put in a sidewalk, it will be a hardship to them," he said, adding that staff will meet with residents to discuss the project.

While the council delayed the Williamson Avenue project Monday, it told residents of south Allison Street that it would have a timeline and cost estimate ready by its special meeting on May 11.

It also voted to have contractor Charles E. Brake Co. of St. Thomas, Pa., add fill to the trenches dug for the sewer project before paving, and remove a section of sidewalk between Addison and Franklin streets.

Borough Manager Ken Womack gave little detail to residents on when they could begin installing curbing or how much it will cost them, but said he mailed letters Monday with answers that will be made public at the May 11 meeting.

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