Committee dressing up Greencastle


Greencastle will be more beautiful by Old Home Week. Two out of three funding requests by the Beautification Committee were granted Monday night by borough council.

Marissa Burt shared projects the committee wanted to undertake. Artist Mary DuBois, from Delaware, would restore the mural under the train tracks on Baltimore Street for $1,200. Of that, Nancy Pensinger was donating $500. DuBois planned to used a marine varnish to keep the painting intact longer than in the past. The work would be done by mid-July. Council members Duane Kinzer, Mark Singer, Harry Foley, Charles Eckstine, Paul Schemel, Craig Myers and Matt Smith unanimously approved the balance. They also set aside up to $150 for powerwashing the mural before restoration began.

Burt asked for $2,524 for 48 vinyl banners to hang on 12 new brackets throughout town. The committee would purchase the 23x54-inch banners to be rotated seasonally. Myers asked that they consider finding a new word for the 'Welcome to Historic Greencastle' slogan.

"Every town says historic. Can we say something more specific about us?"

With unanimous agreement on funding, Burt said the group would discuss alternative phrases, and people were welcome to submit ideas.

Council balked at placing eight wrought iron urns around Center Square. Burt said when Allegheny Power denied permission to use its poles for hanging baskets, the Beautification Committee changed gear and decided to plant flowers and greens in the heavy urns. Ongoing maintenance and financial responsibility would be either shopowners or the committee itself.

Foley predicted the urns would become trash receptacles and Myers wondered if the square would be cluttered, since it already had benches, trees, mailboxes and parking meters.

"The urns would add beauty, but when is enough enough?" he asked.

Not wanting to be rushed into a permanent decision just because Old Home Week was on the horizon, the council delayed action until they could make a visual determination on the effect of the urns, and get clarity on who would take care of them over the long term.

Burt concluded that progress was being made on two more projects. The welcome signs at each entrance to town were in the manufacturing stage and would be installed by mid-July, and clean up days were scheduled for June 23-26.

Sidewalks, streets and trees

The Sidewalk Committee, consisting of Myers, Schemel and Singer, completed its walking tour of Greencastle. Myers said they each took notes and photographs, and in July would begin analyzing the information against a borough map, looking at existing sidewalks and high traffic areas. Due to vacations, they would wait until September to present their recommendations.

Myers stressed, "We put a lot of foot miles on." He wanted the three to be in complete agreement on the plan before turning it over to council.

Schemel followed up on a citizen complaint that the intersection of Leitersburg Street and South Washington Street had poor visibility. He agreed that sight distance was poor and the traffic was heavy because it was so close to the schools. At his urging, council voted to ask PennDOT to make the corner a four-way stop.

Myers expressed dissatisfaction with the performance of the Shade Tree Commission, after hearing from two citizens in separate parts of town who had received the same 'no' response from one man on the commission when they wanted trees taken down. Myers said one tree was hollow and upheaving the sidewalk. Another was overgrown and blocked the frontage of a business. Kinzer was aware of huge trees that should be replaced and the commission refused.

Borough manager Kenneth Womack said the Shade Tree Commission had a lot of authority under the borough code, but if it didn't exist, council would have to handle the issues, which could be as divisive as the sidewalk debate. He and Eckstine will research a way for the commission and council to be on the same page concerning the interests of the citizens. Singer encouraged better communication between all parties before taking a more formal route to settling disagreements.

Dogs again

Resident Ilse Bramson spoke during public comment, disappointed that in May council had referred her request for an animal protection ordinance to committee. "We all know that means the issue is finished," she said. "I had certain expectations of you. Pennsylvania law defines animal cruelty. I just want you to add a paragraph to the ordinance that dogs cannot be left outside when the temperature is below 32 degrees."

She said the borough's inaction had deprived the quality of her life and compromised her health and she intended to seek legal counsel to remedy the situation. "Please, please listen to me," she begged.

Schemel reiterated that according to the borough code, Greencastle could not enforce stricter dog laws than the state had. "We're as responsive as the law allows," he said.  

The borough ordinance pertained to leash laws only, while the state dealt with the general standard care of animals.