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Groundbreaking Ceremony – Part 2 – Franklin County, PA Court Facility Improvement Project

Groundbreaking Ceremony – Part 2 – Franklin County, PA Court Facility Improvement Project

Thank you, Commissioners. Franklin County is fortunate to be receiving $1.5M in grant funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania through the Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program. That would not be possible without the support of Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, former PA State Senator Rich Alloway, current PA State Senator Doug Mastriano, and PA State Representative Rob Kauffman. We thank these gentlemen again for their support. Franklin County is also fortunate to have organizations like the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, the Downtown Business
Council, and the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce in our community
dedicated to our prosperity. We are pleased to have representatives from
each of those groups here today to share their perspectives. Please allow these
highly regarded businessmen and community leaders: Mike Ross, President of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation. Mark Miller, owner of the store Gypsie, here representing the Downtown Business Council. And Steve Christian, Executive Director of the Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce. At this time, I welcome Mike Ross to the podium. Any time I get to see Secretary Wetzel, it’s a good day. Great to see him. I just want to say, this is a big deal, what’s taking place today. I think and as mentioned by the commissioners, the need for this project is reflective of the growth that’s taking place in Franklin County. We’re now a population of 155,000
people. We are continuing to grow. And as our population grows so does the need
for education, human services, and judicial services, very candidly and we had five judges
introduced and and the person we’re going to miss more than you, is Judge Carol Van Horn. Given our population trends, the likihood is that we’re going to need additional judges over the next decade. And I think so that makes this Judicial
Center so so important not only has the commissioners indicated it’ll enhance the
security which is definitely needed. It’ll enhance operational efficiency which
is desperately needed, but it will also reflects it will be enacted very carefully in
some of the development that’s occurring in downtown Chambersburg right now and
it’s interesting and I don’t want to steal the thunder, although I’m probably going to, from Mark and Steve. That was not my intent when I put together these remarks
you start to look at what’s taking place in the downtown and it’s absolutely
remarkable. This is a community of 20,000 people and there’s 100 million plus dollars being invested in our core downtown and it will be anchored from a development standpoint by the Judicial Center. But if you go up to Grant Street and look at the Loft and what’s taking place
with Jan Zell and with Gearhouse. You look at the Coyle Free Library big redevelopment project. Fort Chambers Building, the PO building, the Professional
Arts Building which is being redone, the the Square One, the Falafel –I just ate falafels for the first time and they’re actually good. basic building which was condemned. Central Junior High which we have a vested interest in, the Borough building so
congratulations Jeffrey on what you’ve done. My good friend Bonnie Zehler’s here and
Parkview housing project down on South Main Street in South Street –big big
transition. Shook expansion –something that I will need to be over to rehab –I’m looking forward when I get to the point, that’s where my rehab is going to be. The 11/30 County visitors’ center. The F&M Building, which will be redone. So, there’s a lot going on and I just wanna make it known that I commend you –for the commissioners, I
commend the judges for working together. The foresight here is remarkable. It took political courage to do this, by the way. Any time you roll something like this
out, the people in Waynesboro, or Greencastle or Mercersburg– they say, really? Chambersburg? This is the County seat. This is where the judicial services are delivered but in travelling around the
county and I travel around it every day, I have not heard any negative comments
about this project. I’m not saying there haven’t been any, in my presence I had
not heard any. I commend you for the political courage and I know it’s at times it’s challenging but the collaboration –when I
say challenging, I appreciate the fact that everybody is able to work together
and come out with a project that I think is gonna serve Franklin County well for
the next 50 plus years. It has to serve this long — because we’re not doing this again. So Alan, I was at the meeting when you said, “I’m in.” When I heard you say, “I’m in,” we were all in. So thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Mark Miller and I’m representing the Downtown Business Council of Chambersburg and all the businesses that make our downtown home. First I’d like to thank the
commissioners for inviting me to speak today and their recognition of the ongoing
partnership between the downtown businesses and county government and our joint efforts to keep our downtown vital and to make it great. Our Main Street and square are unique. They have been at the center of this community since its beginning when Benjamin Chambers first built his mill on the Falling Spring not far from here and then built his
Chambers Town around it. This is where he started. This Main Street has stood witness to history and was completely destroyed with
Chambersburg was held for ransom and burned in the Civil War and following that devastation we
rebuilt right here. It’s the host of festivals that celebrate the best of our community and where each year we have parades to honor our
fallen heroes and to usher in the Christmas season. It’s home to art galleries and cafes and gift shops and clothing boutiques and it’s where you’ll find the most diverse options anywhere around –including falafels. Our Main Street has evolved with this community and through ups and downs our courthouse has been a steadfast anchor on Memorial Square in the very heart of our town and I’m happy to
report that downtown Chambersburg is safer, healthier, and more vibrant today than it has been in decades. And as this area has grown so to have the needs of our court system. Our very first courthouse was established in 1784 just across the street from where we gather today. The businesses of downtown
Chambersburg are incredibly grateful that after a proud tradition of 234 years, County
government has chosen to continue as an anchor for our downtown and again build
on Main Street. This new project doesn’t just address the space, accessibility, and
safety concerns present in the current facility, but it
is also an incredible investment in the future of our downtown and it will serve
as a symbol of the county’s unwavering commitment to fairness and justice for
everyone. As we celebrate this groundbreaking today for this wonderful new court facility, I will also invite you to explore our downtown. The county has graciously partnered with several downtown businesses to offer specials today as you explore Main Street and beyond. So to close, I look forward to the day when we will all gather here again, to cut the ribbon opening the new
courthouse –our new courthouse– that will stand as a beacon of justice and a
source of pride for all of Franklin County for years to come. Thank you. There’s a special spot in purgatory for those of us who are sentenced to follow Mike Ross at the podium. On behalf of the Greater Chambersburg
Chamber of Commerce and the Chambersburg Area Development Corporation I’d like to
thank the Franklin County government, many other stakeholders within our
community for their vision, their dedication, and commitment to this
important project. These new facilities will enhance the effectiveness and
efficiency for our law enforcement and judicial professionals, drastically
improve safety and security for all those who utilize our court system and
enhance how the governing entities serve the citizens of Franklin County for many
years to come. These new facilities also represent an exciting addition to the
ongoing growth and development of our downtown core. The Chamber of Commerce and the Chambersburg Area Development Corporation are dedicated to continuing
the economic progress and prosperity of our community. There is a resurgence of
small entrepreneurial businesses. There is revitalization of many of our
downtown buildings and this new project adds significant momentum to the
Renaissance taking place in downtown Chambersburg. Finally, I’d like to extend
my personal appreciation and gratitude to Commissioners Dave Keller, Bob Thomas, and Bob Ziobrowski for their leadership for their stewardship, and their
dedication to making this important project come to fruition and for their
continued service to our Franklin County community. Thank you all.

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