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Gettysburg hopes for major update of Gettysburg Square; Moves forward on open carry alcohol, events zoning

Gettysburg Borough will apply for $11.4 million in grant funds for upgrades in stormwater management, pedestrian safety, business and handicap access, and increases in public space to Baltimore St., the Lincoln Square, and areas around it. If received, the grant would create one of the largest capital improvement projects in the borough’s history.

The funds would come from a U.S. Department of Transportation’s $1.5 billion Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) grant made possible by a bipartisan infrastructure law passed in 2021. The program helps communities around the country carry out projects with significant local or regional impact.

The borough said sidewalks were failing in parts of the square, that water and ice regularly pools in low spots, and that there were many ways to make the square safer and more pedestrian friendly. “There’s a lot of opportunity for people to use and interact with that space,” said Planning, Zoning, and Code Enforcement Director Carly Marshall.

The grant request will be a resubmission of a prior RAISE grant submitted by the borough that was rejected. The borough said it was not unusual that the first round of an application would be rejected and that the project had received a very positive rating from the review committee. 

The borough said a steering committee of over 80 people had already given input on the project and that more public comment would be requested before the project begins.

The revised proposal includes the original funds requested for updating the Baltimore Ave. corridor and the area around the Transit Center and an addition of about $2 million in new funds for the Gettysburg Square project and for increased costs due to inflation.

The state is expected to contribute matching funds.

Public Consumption of Alcohol Zone(s)

Taking into consideration concerns raised by residents and leaders of local organizations about its potential negative consequences, including increased alcohol consumption, availability of alcohol to minors, and litter, the council will move forward on creating a trial run of open container areas around the Gettysburg Square.

Borough Manager Charles Gable said he had asked administrators from Carlisle Borough about their policy which is similar to the one Gettysburg is planning. He said they reported no pushback from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and no uptick in police calls. Carlisle will be providing more statistics for Gettysburg to review. 

The borough is likely to have a test period before a final ordinance is drafted and noted the policy can be changed or rescinded anytime if problems arise.

The council said that the way alcohol is served has changed over the past years with cideries, breweries, and wineries now being the main providers of alcohol.

Details are still to be worked out including enforcement, affected areas, and hours of operation.

Events Center Zoning Proposal

The borough will move forward on creating a new zoning use for events centers. The change is the result of a request for an event center on High St. The borough carefully discussed the issue and spent over an hour at their Monday work session considering issues that would be important, including the definition of an event center, lot and building sizes, tent sizes, setbacks, screenings, and outdoor toilet locations.

The borough again encouraged public to reach out with their thoughts about these proposals.

The next borough council meeting will be April 11 at 7:00 p.m.

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Charles Stangor is Gettysburg Connection's Publisher and Editor in Chief.

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