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Free Franklin County seminar to address impact of nearby Maryland growth

August 26, 2008|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. -- The redevelopment of Fort Ritchie over the next decade will bring thousands of jobs and new residents to the region, many of whom are going to live in the southern tier of Franklin County.

"Growth Pressures from Maryland" is the topic of a free seminar at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Franklin County Agricultural Heritage Center. It will feature three speakers from Maryland talking about the impact of increased employment in defense and supporting industries in that state.

"It's important for us collectively as government officials to be aware of what's going on and its effect on Franklin County," Franklin County Area Development Corp. President L. Michael Ross said. The redevelopment of the former Army facility could create 4,500 jobs over 10 years that will strain roads and utilities north of the Mason-Dixon Line.

"The people that really need to be here are the state agencies," Ross said, listing the Pennsylvania departments of Transportation, Environmental Protection and Community and Economic Development among them. "A lot of what's taking place in Maryland is not on our radar screen."

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Along with Washington Township, which has been tracking these issues closely, Ross said the state needs to be aware of the residential, commercial and industrial development that will be coming to the southern tier of Franklin, Adams and York counties.

"PennDOT needs to know people don't walk to the Maryland line and jump in their cars," he said.

The seminar speakers are:

o Lisa A. Swoboda, deputy director of the Office of Military and Federal Affairs for the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

o William D. Hofmann Sr., the property and environment services manager for COPT Property Management Services on the redevelopment of Fort Ritchie.

o Angela Butler with the Maryland Department of Planning.

"The housing slump notwithstanding, the majority of growth pressure is coming from Maryland," said Judy Chambers, extension educator for Penn State Extension. The extension is co-sponsoring the seminar with the FCADC and Franklin County Planning Commission.

Preregistration is not required for the seminar, Chambers said.

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