Kinzer to lead downtown group

H. Duane Kinzer was elected president of Greencastle Downtown Inc. The organization is dedicated to strengthening the business district.

Greencastle Downtown Inc. (GDI) has formalized operations, electing officers last week. H. Duane Kinzer is president, Jay Sensenig is vice president, and Jeff Shank is treasurer. Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce executive director Joel Fridgen is a member, and the board is seeking more to round out the committee.

Roots for the non-profit began in 2009 with the formation of the Greencastle Revitalization Committee, which Kinzer chaired. Last year work began on creating GDI, with the purpose of recognizing the needs of the downtown and offering assistance in meeting them. The 501(c) (3) status just came through.

“Joel Fridgen spent countless hours working on that,” said Kinzer. “Now we can apply for grants that apply to the safety and development of Greencastle.”

His priorities are brick crosswalks for Center Square, more off-street parking, and improving some properties in the downtown area. GDI plans to cooperate with Franklin County Area Development Corporation.

The borough paid for GDI’s membership in Pennsylvania Downtown Center in 2012. 

The statewide non-profit organization helps communities revitalize main business districts and surrounding neighborhoods. The borough last October also hired a grant writer, using $5,000 from the Community Improvement Fund, to aid GDI. Kinzer hopes the new group can be included in the 2014 borough budget.

“I am proud to be the first president of GDI,” he said. “I think I know our mission. Buildings are only buildings without the people in them.”

His company, Century Leasing Inc., is one of several commercial landlords in Greencastle. Kinzer believes all of the property owners value their tenants.

GDI replaces the Revitalization Committee now, he said.

He addressed borough council July 1. He told the board that both the Chamber of Commerce and GDI were legs of the borough, and asked for their support.

“We’re only as good as you allow us to be.”

He opened up the committee to council representatives. Wade Burkholder volunteered.

“You’re appointed,” council president Charles Eckstine immediately replied.