Before crews demolish 27-29 E. Main St., the organizations spearheading the project need to ensure tearing down the dilapidated building will not cause structural damage at adjacent buildings, according to Patrick E. Fleagle, economic development director of Main Street Waynesboro Inc.
Downtown revitalization organization Main Street Waynesboro Inc., in partnership with other groups, hopes to replace the eyesore building with a plaza featuring a fountain, seating areas and landscaping. Existing rear parking lots would be consolidated, enhanced with hedges and shade trees, and defined from an alley that parallels East Main Street.
Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp. purchased 27-29 E. Main St. for $150,000 last year.
A contractor offered to tear down the building for free, Fleagle said. Still, there needs to be money for fill materials and assessments done for structural integrity, he said.
“That’s been taking some time,” Fleagle said, saying his organization hoped to see demolition done this winter.
Fleagle said he has talked to representatives with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development about grants with matching funds for money raised locally. Those programs might necessitate the plaza property being sold or leased at a nominal fee to a government body.
“I think most of the matching money we’re going to have to raise through private contributions, ... so we’ve got our work cut out for us,” Fleagle said.
Early estimates placed the cost for the parking lot alone at $550,000.
One initiative involves planning for the parking lot to have a special, pervious macadam that would cut down on water runoff from the site, Fleagle said. That lot also would have better grading to improve stormwater conditions, he said.
Details of the plaza’s design are not finalized. It is envisioned as a place for weekend events and live music.
Main Street Waynesboro Inc. board member Tom Moore said the plaza would complement existing efforts to improve the streetscape. Those efforts include brick sidewalks and hanging flowers.
“This is going to play right into it,” said Moore, who is chairman of the organization’s economic development committee.
Last year, Waynesboro Area Senior High School art club students painted the windows at 27-29 E. Main St.
“We’re trying to make it look a little nicer until the buildings are removed,” Fleagle said.
He said some people have advocated for repairing the building, but he does not feel that is possible.
“They’re in terrible structural shape. If we had a rental inspection program (in town), these buildings would have been caught and saved years ago,” Fleagle said.