Ben Thomas Jr.
Mayor of Greencastle
Ben Thomas Jr.

Here are some quick reads from your mayor …

ATTENTION SMALL BUSINESSES EMPLOYING UNDER 100 – Please consider applying for the Franklin County Small Business Recovery Grant that funds up to $50,000 in working capital (losses) and building retrofit grants. Applications are being received through Aug. 14. Contact the G-A Chamber of Commerce office or Franklin County Area Development Corp. for more information. I’m pleased that some new businesses are now open downtown and that the former Hicks Chevrolet building on North Antrim Way is undergoing extensive renovations with a new business venture opening the first of the year.

THE BEAUTY OF SUMMER IN GREENCASTLE! – Take time and notice the beautiful flowers around Center Square, the Post Office, the Borough Hall and Veterans Memorial that are tended to by our volunteers. Thank you, ladies, for your hard work seven days a week. Thanks to our Public Works Department for freshening up the crosswalks and parking lines around Greencastle. The trees that adorn Greencastle are such an environmentally friendly sight to behold. Thanks to the property owners who care for these trees and to the Shade Tree Commission for your efforts as well. This reminds me of Old Home Week when the town receives its annual sprucing up by borough personnel, contractors, and property owners. Remember, we will again celebrate Old Home Week is just two years! It’s great to see baseball and softball back in the G-A community; at the Jerome R. King Playground; the Baseball-Softball Association fields; and at various locations throughout Antrim Township. Get your lawn chairs out and “play ball!”

SO, WHY DID SOUTH ANTRIM WAY FLOOD LATE SATURDAY, AUG. 2? – Mother Nature gave us a quick 2.4 inches of rain. About 20 years ago, a sizable grant allowed Greencastle to divert a large amount of the run-off that plagued this low point for decades. Route 11 has about a dozen PennDOT maintained drains in the area. When vegetative debris clogs them, water will not drain. That was the case Saturday night. From South Antrim Way there is a large concrete pipe system that was constructed in 1955 to drain this watershed. The pipe day lights on the former “Meyers Farm” near Dallas Drive in Antrim Township.

SOUTH WASHINGTON STREET MOTOR VEHICLE CRASH – On the evening of July 27, I assisted with a single-vehicle crash in the 300 block of South Washington Street. The lone driver was unconscious and barely breathing with no apparent crash injuries. Rescue Hose Company EMS quickly responded and administered NARCAN, then transported to an area hospital. Greencastle Police investigated, with substance testing initiated at the hospital in accordance with Pennsylvania Vehicle Code protocol. It seems that Greencastle Police have investigated a rash of motor vehicle crashes in the past several weeks.

KEYSTONE MENTAL HEALTH FIELD COUNSELING – I recently sat down with Counselor Kay Martin who patrols with Greencastle PD. She advised there’s definitely an increase for mental health challenges, drug and alcohol use and persons wanting to harm themselves. She is grateful for the cooperation from Greencastle PD and this proactive service to our citizens and visitors. This team effort between counselors and police officers with their responses to potentially life-threatening situations provides a much safer environment for the health care workers and the community.

REGIONAL STRATEGIC PLANNING – I’m pleased that the mayor and council will soon meet with Antrim Township regarding firefighter/apparatus operator staffing for Rescue Hose Company. The Franklin County Emergency Services Alliance is spearheading a countywide study regarding conditions and recommendations for the fire and EMS services of Franklin County. This is similar to an Adams County study that I was involved with several years ago. Elected officials should clearly pay attention to this study and the future recommendations. Writing about “strategic planning,” it is important now more than ever for Greencastle-Antrim to strategically plan as Antrim Township’s growth is and will continue to have an impact on the borough where our tax base is flat. Much of the privately owned land close to Greencastle is “for sale,” offering commercial, industrial and high-density housing opportunities, all of which will impact Greencastle services.

RESOLUTION 2020-06 (interaction between public officials and borough staff) – I have communicated my thoughts to Council President Steve Miller regarding council’s July 6 action and will further impart my concerns prior to the September meeting of council.

FINALLY – I recently received a citizen’s letter highly commending members of the Greencastle Police Department and Counselor Kay Martin for their assistance with a family that suffered a tragic and traumatic event. I will not go into any of the details other than our officers and staff are called 24 hours a day to do things that only police officers and emergency service providers can relate to. It can’t be stated enough to these providers…thank you! Enough said.