Council delays taking action on old Antrim Builders site

Shawn Hardy

Action on the proposed residential and commercial development of the former Antrim Builders property was tabled at Monday's Greencastle Borough Council meeting.

Inaction on the plans that have been in the works for about three years and in the borough's hands for about a year frustrated Charles Eckstine of Mockingbirdhil Inc., owner of the property.

Unrelated to council's decision not to act were several people who think the location between Jerome R. King Playground and the ballfields would be perfect for a proposed community center. The property is along Chambers Lane between North Washington and North Carlisle streets with some frontage on Grant Street.


The motion on the agenda was to approve a portion of Mockingbirdhil's land development plan and let Eckstine construct the building fronting on Grant Street and three other buildings of his choice. However, Eden Ratliff, borough manager, said the borough solicitor advised that could be interpreted as denying the rest of the plan.

To avoid that, a phasing approach was suggested, with further review by the planning commission and the community development committee and action expected at the July meeting.

"I feel like it's been kicked around so long," Eckstine said, explaining he is constantly receiving changes and asked for a list of outstanding items.

"I'm about ready to walk away," said Eckstine, adding it would be easy to make a call and lease the property to Industrial Pallet for the next 10 years.

The plans for the property show several apartment buildings with 18 units each, a multi-family building with 10 units and a multi-commercial and residential building fronting on Grant Street. Much of the residential space is for senior housing, according to Eckstine.

"I think we're close and can look forward to reviewing it next month," Ratliff said.

Community center 

The community center is being spearheaded by former local resident Mark Smith, who is now a Hollywood disc jockey known as DJ Bizzy. He and a group of local friends have formed a non-profit to raise money for a community center.

They envision a facility for arts, music and athletics with space for basketball and volleyball, classrooms and potentially a stage — a place to go inside when it is snowing or raining.

Jeremy Layman spoke on behalf of the group, which has looked at other tracts but "feels this is the best fit."

"The owner's been working on this for some time. Where have you been?" asked Councilman Duane Kinzer.

"I think a community center is this area is beneficial. Our children need a place to go indoors," said Tiffany Bloyer, who highlighted the property location.

Both Kinzer and Councilman Steve Miller said the group should consider locating close to the schools.

Kinzer noted the school district owns property on the south side of Leitersburg Street. A group trying to establish a YMCA or a community center in the 1990s also looked to the south side of Leitersburg Street, but did not have the funding to move forward, according to Miller.