Wilson, Chambersburg Officials Tout Upcoming Streetscape Project

By Amber South  asouth@publicopinionnews.com @AESouthPO on Twitter

CHAMBERSBURG >> A nearly half-million dollar project will soon be launched to improve pedestrian safety at Wilson College and improve the aesthetic connection between the campus and downtown Chambersburg.

Wilson President Barbara Mistick, Chambersburg Borough Council President Allen Coffman and state Sen. Richard Alloway, R-Chambersburg, came together Thursday morning to celebrate receipt of a $465,429 grant from the Commonwealth Financing Authority’s Multimodal Transportation Fund and share information on the streetscape project it will pay for.

“We’re standing here today talking about a partnership that will take the largest amount of sidewalk, the largest pedestrian space — largest frontage in the Borough of Chambersburg and transforming that in a way that’s going to be permanent,” Mistick said.

The project will allow Wilson to “recreate our front door,” Mistick added. Alloway later followed that up, saying the transformed landscape will provide a better first impression for visitors entering the borough from the north.

The entire perimeter of the campus along U.S. 11 on the borough’s brim will be restructured with new sidewalks, lights and other amenities. According to Mistick, a sidewalk will begin at Sharpe House on the south end of campus, move around the following two bends, and proceed up to the Menno Haven campus.

It will take nearly 3,000 feet of sidewalk, Coffman said. That is about the same amount that the borough put down in all of last year in various downtown improvement projects, he added.

The campus entrance located at the first bend when traveling north will be closed, Mistick said. The entrance has been the location of several vehicle accidents over the years, many of which damaged the pillars on either side of the driveway.

The project may include moving above-ground utilities under the ground, Mistick said.

The start of the project is tied to PennDot’s schedule for resurfacing U.S. 11 in the area, Coffman said. That should happen sometime in 2015, but he did not want to give a more specific time frame.

A first step will be a traffic study, which among other things will determine whether a traffic light is installed at the campus entrance at the intersection of U.S. 11 and Park Avenue. Alloway noted that the busy pedestrian area can be dangerous.

The Borough of Chambersburg received notice of the grant award on Sept. 9, Coffman said. According to Alloway, that money is available because of a controversial transportation bill the legislature approved in 2013 in order to improve roads and bridges throughout the state.

Amber South can be reached at 262-4771.