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Group envisions downtown Waynesboro plaza

June 20, 2012|By JENNIFER FITCH | waynesboro@herald-mail.com
  • This artist's illustration shows how a plaza would look from East Main Street. Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. is looking to create the area as a downtown destination spot.
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WAYNESBORO, Pa. — A nonprofit organization focused on downtown revitalization has developed a plan for a plaza envisioned as a gathering place off East Main Street.

Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. worked with a consultant to create a plan that involves demolishing a split building that sustained structural damage in recent years. That building at 27-29 E. Main St. is on the north side of East Main Street near Center Square.

In its place is envisioned a courtyard with a fountain, seating areas and landscaping. Existing rear parking lots would be consolidated, enhanced with hedges and shade trees, and defined from an alley that parallels East Main Street.

“Although the aesthetics themselves would probably be worth the investment, we are looking at long-range economic goals that will add to the growth of the tax base of the downtown and create a people-oriented destination,” said Patrick Fleagle, economic development director of Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc.

Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp. bought the split building three weeks ago for $150,000 and “will get it torn down as soon as possible,” Fleagle said.

On Wednesday, Fleagle reminded Mayor Richard Starliper of comments the mayor made in October 2011 about the buildings being an eyesore. The mayor and council expressed initial support of the project during Wednesday night’s meeting.

Mainstreet Waynesboro Inc. wants to work with the Borough of Waynesboro to use some of the Community Development Block Grant funding it receives, Fleagle said.

He said his organization wants to continue working with the Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp. and other partners, such as the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce, which already provided $5,000 for legal work.

The total estimate is $550,000 to improve the parking areas, Fleagle said. Estimates for building demolition and plaza development have not been formed, he said.

“The planning for this project has been going on for two years, and now we must take the initial steps,” Fleagle said.

In saying he supports seeking state funding, Councilman Craig Newcomer said grants are typically specific to a project.

“Do you want it to go to some other town, or do you want it to go to Waynesboro?” he asked.

“We’re looking at a lot of private money involved in this and some grant money,” Fleagle said.

“We still have a long way to go on this whole concept,” he added, saying design elements could change.

One design element being considered are towers based on flywheels from old Frick Co. compressors, Fleagle said.

Fleagle expressed frustration with the existing parking areas.

“It looks like downtown Beirut back there,” he said.

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