Ben Thomas Jr.
Mayor of Greencastle
Ben Thomas Jr.

During my years as a Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) police officer one of the curriculum lessons was about “support systems.” Valuable discussions were taught to fifth- and seventh-graders in the G-A School District and across the country.

I ask that you be a part of our community support system this coming Saturday, June 6, at 4 p.m. for our graduating senior class of 2020. Join the vehicle procession route along Leitersburg Street, South Carlisle Street, Center Square, East Baltimore Street and South Ridge Avenue and cheer our senior class members on.

Also, the governor’s yellow light is now on as many of Greencastle’s businesses are now open. As you are able, please support our local economy. Now, more than ever, our businesses need your support. Come on, Gov. Wolf! Let’s turn on the green light for all of our businesses to reopen using CDC guidelines. I’ve been working with our state representatives, state senators, and all three Franklin County commissioners to move Franklin County into the yellow business reopening phase and, hopefully, soon to be green.

I offer my appreciation to two Greencastle police officers who were on foot patrol downtown this past Saturday and spoke to a woman who is interested in opening a business here as she was impressed with our community. They directed her to the borough office and the chamber of commerce office to receive information and directed her to some vacant storefronts.

Welcome to our two new businesses downtown. Stop by Bean and Biscuit for a coffee and treat along with a new spa soon to open joining our other wonderful Greencastle business locations.

So how about the MS4 waiver approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection May 12? I want to personally thank DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell, Deputy Secretary Aneca Atkinson and Environmental Group Manager Lee Murphy for allowing the Borough of Greencastle to apply for this waiver. I also thank Gettysburg engineer Erik Vranich and borough staff for the research information presented in the waiver application that was submitted. So where does the Borough of Greencastle go from here?

I’ve been involved with “strategic planning focus group” elected officials and staff workshops for many years as a facilitator. With Greencastle’s MS4 future discussions I disagree with allowing committees to separately discuss. I strongly recommend strategic public discussions that involve all elected officials vs. fragmented, separate meetings that may be held in the daytime. This is a time for holistic, public strategic planning involving all elected officials and appropriate staff together. My recommendation is that all elected officials and appropriate staff publicly hold a workshop for an after-action review; SCOAP opportunity (Strengths, Challenges, Opportunities, Action Plan). There would be public comment at the beginning and ending of the workshop, however, citizens must respect that the elected council and mayor are the decision makers and allow their focused discussions to occur without interruption. All elected officials should receive advance historic MS4 documentation from 2015 to the 2019 submission of the waiver application for their review. Proposed stormwater projects should also be discussed including a field trip to visually review. I look forward to using my professional experience working with council and staff to right this ship and benefit the landowners of Greencastle.

Council should follow up with Antrim Township regarding the Nov. 25, 2019, joint letter sent to Franklin County commissioners where we requested the county appoint a focus group to spearhead unified MS4 efforts to benefit all citizens of Franklin County. I am not aware of a response to this letter. We have five years to get this right.

Kindness is contagious. Support each other, from our children to our senior citizens, as summer is nearly here. Remember ... We are blessed.