THE MAYOR’S REPORT: Center Square, July 4th and summer in Greencastle

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

How’s your summer season going? More on that in a few minutes. So, I’m authoring this report from the front porch on a beautiful 4th of July in Greencastle. I took an early morning drive around quiet Greencastle and photographed the beautiful Center Square. Marie Eshleman was in the rotary traffic island last night watering those well cared for flowers. By 7 a.m. the farmers were busy moving their equipment around as it was just another day for that occupation. Thanks, farmers, for what you do to feed us and the world. I visited the fire house as they had already responded to several EMS calls on this holiday morning. The firehouse coffee was good. There is no truth to the rumor that the used coffee is used when the oil is changed in the apparatus. But now I’m back on the porch enjoying a wonderful breeze and a strong cup of coffee, listening to the radio, as several neighbors stopped by to say hi. Grab a cup and join me because you just can’t beat small town living! On a personal note, today would have been Master Sergeant Benjamin Bitner’s 49th birthday. On this Independence Day/Week, take a moment and thank those who have sacrificed for our many freedoms in the United States of America.

Center Square in Greencastle looked beautiful on a quiet 4th of July morning.

I do appreciate the fact checkers that read my articles in G-A and all over the country. I had a call two weeks ago from my dear friend John Ommert in North Carolina. He was police chief when the training was being conducted at the G-A High School as the photo appeared in a recent Echo Pilot edition. The PD photo indicated 1967, however, retired District Judge Ommert advised it was 1969. Seems like yesterday.

THE MAYOR'S REPORTPolice past to present

THE MAYOR’S REPORT:Past law enforcement

So, with Center Square let’s fast forward from 1969 to 1988 just 34 years ago. PennDOT notified Greencastle that major street rebuilding would occur on all of Baltimore Street and a portion of South Carlisle Street. This meant the curbs and sidewalks would need repaired or replaced. Sound familiar? Letters were sent to affected borough property owners. Greencastle offered zero percent loans over a two- to three-year period to help defray the costs. Borough council had to meet at the Special Events Center (now the Blue Heron) to accommodate the number of citizens attending. Council President Carl Amsley did a phenomenal job running those meetings.

The Chamber of Commerce did a revitalization project soliciting donations for the current ornamental lighting around the Square. Many businesses and private citizens signed up as the lights were installed in 1989. Vo-tech school (now career and technology) students were enlisted to design the curbed corner vegetative areas in all four corners of the Square. Contractor Ron Eberly completed the project. Volunteers tended the fresh flowers in all four corners for years. Borough council is now working with the chamber to replace the 33-year-old lamps with new, LED systems. The project should be completed later this year.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

So how is your summer going? I consider all the gems we have here in G-A to get outside and visit. Just a few are the Jerome R. King Playground, Highline Train Station, Tayamentasachta Environmental Center, Antrim Township Park, the baseball and softball complex, and the community parks in State Line, Shady Grove, Kauffman and Upton. A visit into town just to walk or enjoy a ball game at Barkdoll Field. Old Home Week is just around the corner and I’m excited. I hope you are too.

So, what’s the latest regarding the MS4 (storm water) stuff that got the community in a tizzy, and rightfully so, several years ago? Well stay tuned as I’ll bring you up to date in my next writing. At their late June workshop, I presented a “past, present, and future report” to council, along with our engineer, and I’ll bring you, the taxpayer (or should I say fee payer), up to date in a couple weeks.

Meanwhile, yes, it’s summer. I need to write two more reports, then I’ll put down the laptop and enjoy this Independence Day. Wow … we are certainly blessed.