Sidewalks on Progress and a New Council Member – Chambersburg Borough Council Meeting Recap

CHAMBERSBURG – The consent agenda for Monday night’s Borough Council Meeting was unanimously approved, apart from the initiative to change the Conococheague Creek Adaptive Canoe and Kayak Launch at the Chambersburg Rail Trail Project to the Conococheague Creek Fishing Dock and Canoe and Kayak Ramp. The project itself, which would provide handicap access to the creek for a total cost of $162,924, was subjected to debate. Certain members of the public expressed concerns that the proposed location was not ideal for fishing, and that the entire project represented an unnecessary waste of funds. Despite these worries, the change was ultimately approved for submission to the state via a five-to-four vote in favor.

Tensions ran high during discussion of the regular agenda, particularly over the issue of a potential amendment to the Borough’s Curb and Sidewalk Master Plan. The amendment introduced the possible future installation of a sidewalk network on Progress Road, between Industrial Drive and Orchard Drive. Though this agenda item only proposed a referral to the Board of Appeal rather than an actual decision regarding the sidewalk network, it faced strong opposition by several residents of the street in question. These residents – including former council member Kathy Leedy – argued that adding sidewalks would impose various expenses on them while providing little to no benefit. Other members of the community, backed by President Allen Coffman and Vice President Thomas Newcomer, asserted that sidewalks might be necessary to promote public safety and pedestrian connectivity. They addressed resident concerns, claiming that grants could be acquired to fund the project rather than the homeowners themselves. In the end, the referral was rejected with a five-to-four vote in opposition.

Several other items were presented during the review of the regular agenda. The Council approved a resolution to transfer a Pennsylvania State Liquor License into the Borough for Weis Market, located on Wayne Avenue. It also received a report from the Planning and Zoning Commission regarding its meeting on Jan. 11. Finally, the single applicant to replace Beltz in representing the Fourth Ward was presented to the Council. Jamie Boden, a resident of the Fourth Ward for approximately eight years, stated that he loved living in the Borough and wanted to make a difference in the community. He was unanimously appointed by the Council to fill the vacant seat.