Plans for vacant Greencastle lot still undecided

June 26, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Two-and-a-half years have passed since a fire destroyed a three-story building known as Greencastle's "Town Hall" for some time after its construction in 1871.

Friends Rich Bateman and Mark Siner purchased the .14-acre vacant lot at the intersection of Pa. 16 and Washington Street at auction in July 2006. While they quickly took steps related to safety, like filling in the foundation, the pair had no immediate plans for the site.

And the property's future remains undecided.

"There's any number of things we could do, or maybe someone else will have a plan," Bateman said.

Bateman said community members have provided feedback, saying the property would be well served by a small restaurant or a nicely designed Starbucks. Those ideas and others, like a dedicated parking area for downtown, continue to roll around in his mind.

"I'd like to see a three-story building go there with shops on the first floor and apartments on the second and third floors," Bateman said.


That layout would be very similar to the old brick building, which partially collapsed during the electrical fire on Jan. 26, 2006. Thirteen people from five families safely evacuated the building, according to published reports.

Bateman described the lot as a "key piece of land in downtown Greencastle." The lot's owners had discussed creating grassy open space with a fountain, but ran into insurance problems with that proposal.

Bateman said he'd be open to leasing the property or working with someone else on that person's vision.

"We just want it to be cool," he said.

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