After extensive deliberation, Chambersburg announces look and plan for new Wayne Avenue Public Works Campus

27 June 2024- After much wrangling with property owners, engineering firms, and borough officials, the Chambersburg Borough Council and their Public Work’s Department have officially released what a new Public Works Campus would look like at the intersection of Wayne Avenue and S Fourth Street in the Borough.

The Highway Department, Engineering Department, Sanitation Department, Motor Equipment maintenance, and the Water and Wastewater maintenance crew will be relocated from other facilities to a new modern Public Works Campus planned for Wayne Avenue in the vicinity of South Fourth Street.

With the adoption of the 2024 budget, Council directed staff to complete the design of the new facility, which is proceeding rapidly. On Wednesday, June 26, 2024, staff released a rendering to illustrate the campus layout and appearance when scheduled to open in 2026.

To make way for this project, the Borough has been slowly acquiring land on this block through negotiated purchases with private property owners. The Borough reached agreement with fourteen of the seventeen properties, and by the end of the summer, the Borough will own all but three private homes. This includes purchases made in the past such as the former Wagner Supply Warehouse, the old Cold Storage building (now demolished), and 1332-1334 South Fourth Street. The 1332-1334 South Fourth Street property, across the street from the former Cold Storage site, has been renovated into field offices for the Water and Wastewater Department.

According to Borough Manager Jeffrey Stonehill, “this is a transformational project for the neighborhood. In addition to Federal grant money which was designated from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) for this project, Council has approved using the Borough utilities through their motor equipment rentals, and the Borough taxpayers together, will fund this community revitalization project to modernize Borough operations and relocate disparate departments into one modern energy-efficient facility for generations to come.”

The goal laid out in the 2024 budget, in addition to finalizing design and construction documents, is to solicit a cost of construction for Town Council to consider with the adoption of the 2025 budget. Council has already adopted a funding plan, which will include municipal bonds and a variety of sources to pay them off.

Many of the operations to be relocated are now housed at the undersized and aging Loudon Street garage. Built in the floodway in the 1920s, the Loudon Street garage is not only susceptible to flood damage, but the building is too small for several of our vehicles such as garbage trucks and fire trucks to be serviced indoors. “Staff is changing oil and hydraulic fluid, undertaking basic maintenance, in the parking lot in all types of weather,” added Public Works Director Chuck Nipe, who is the Project Manager. “We also store numerous pieces of equipment outdoors in the weather and have run out of space for offices, equipment, and tools at Loudon Street.”

A more serious concern was identified several years ago when a void under the foundation at that facility was identified. In the long-range plan, a part of the site of the Loudon Street garage will be a creek side park after demolition.

Before relocating to South Fourth Street in 2023, the Water and Wastewater maintenance crew, a portion of the Borough’s important utility workers, had no permanent headquarters. They mostly worked out of the Wastewater Treatment Plant which lacked appropriate vehicle and material storage. In addition to their new offices already operational on South Fourth Street, the campus project will include vehicle and equipment storage for the Water and Wastewater maintenance operations.

Finally, Chambersburg Borough maintains an extensive civil and utility engineering operation. Currently housed at City Hall, this department will relocate to a new office building on Wayne Avenue and join with other public works administrators at that facility.

“It is a campus,” explained Jeffrey Stonehill. “A series of important facilities sharing one site, including a modern equipment maintenance building for over 150 pieces of motorized equipment, trash trucks, pickup trucks, electric utility trucks, vacuum trucks, excavators, fire trucks, and police cars, maintained by the employees of the Borough of Chambersburg.”