Saying it was a “mouthdropping number,” Gettysburg Borough Manager Charles Gable outlined a $26.77 million plan to improve and maintain the borough’s infrastructure over the next five years. Gable said funds would come from a variety of organizations but that a major source was expected to be grants.
The goal of Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is to procure enough investment to protect and extend the life of existing assets and to ensure the stability of the borough in both the near and long term. General capital projects are those worth more than $25,000 and which have a useful life of no less than 5 years.
Gable said the plan’s priority is on projects that maintain infrastructure and will be updated on a rolling 5-year basis. The plan is collaborative and includes partnerships with Columbia Gas, the Gettysburg Municipal Authority, and the Gettysburg Storm Water Management Authority.
Gable said that due to planning and collaboration the borough was able to complete about $5 million in projects for only $4 million in general obligation bonds over the past five years and that he hoped to see similar savings in this round.
The plan includes 38 specific projects, each of which was evaluated on the basis of 15 different criteria in terms of importance including the possibility of collaboration, cost and benefits, health and safety, legal requirements, preservation of existing assets, feasibility, benefits to the borough, conservation, environmental impacts, neighborhoods, and economic development to increase the tax base.
Gable said the project was “extensive” and that the staff had been working for 5 months to prepare it.
“We’re never going to get anywhere if we don’t challenge ourselves,” said Gable. “It will never happen if we don’t try.”
Gable said the plan called for about $2.4 million to be spent in 2022 with larger expenditures in later years.
Gable broke the plan into eight “buckets” of proposed work:
Baltimore St. Revitalization, including $1.5 million to renovate the house at 340 Baltimore Street to create a Gettysburg Community and Visitors Center which will house public restrooms, offices, and the borough’s historical artifacts. The property was donated to the borough for this use and Gable said the renovation could begin in 2026 if things went well. “Everyone in the county benefits from the success of this project,” said Gable.
Gable presented some preliminary sketches for the renovation. “The funding mechanisms are falling into place,” said Main Street Gettysburg President Jill Sellers.
Community and Economic Development, including new branded gateway displays at each of the 9 borough entrances. Gable said the goal was to have the gateways display aesthetically pleasing entrances to the borough.
Master Plans, including sidewalk reconstruction and major repair and reconstruction on the Lincoln Highway through town (York and Chambersburg Streets) along with a major repair to a failing stormwater pipe that runs underneath Chambersburg St. Another major project is to replace a large and deteriorated storm water pipe that runs under the South Central Community Action building.
Gable said another long-term goal was to develop better maps displaying right of ways in the borough.
Roads and Alleys, including finishing the ongoing South St. streetscape project. Also on the docket in this category are repairs to the walls of Stevens Run and renovation and preservation of a number of streets including Bream Alley, Long Lane, Breckinridge St. Mayor Alley, Queen St., Railroad St., and Wolf Alley. These projects typically include storm water mitigation aspects.
Storm Water Management and Infrastructure, including a sidewalk replacement program, funded in part by the revolving loan program, which will provide zero-interest loans to property owners as they replace their sidewalks. The borough is likely to coordinate projects to help people get better deals on their sidewalks.
Also included are public works equipment including replacing aging dump trucks, as well as chipper and grinders for making mulch.
Emergency Management, including upgrades to borough buildings that would provide a place for storing large items of evidence for the police department, a capability that is required for ongoing police department accreditation. Another plan is to upgrade the borough’s public works building.
Another focus is to purchase equipment to facilitate the safety of special events, including hardening the parade routes. Gable proposed purchasing portable traffic signals, barricades, and message boards.
Public Parking Facilities, including routine maintenance on the Racehorse Alley Parking Garage. The borough said the life expectancy of the garage is expected to be 50 years or more if it’s properly maintained.
The borough is also proposing storm water improvements at 688, 698, 700, and 712 S. Washington Street near the hospital to prepare a piece of property where buildings have recently been removed and which may be the site of a future parking lot.
The borough is also keeping open the possibility of putting 2-story parking garage on the vacant lot near the corner of Baltimore and Middle Streets. The plans call for the upper deck to be accessed from Legion Alley. The garage would provide short-term parking for people who are shopping in the borough.
Parks and Recreation, including funding to complete the next states of the Healthy Adams County Bicycle Pedestrian (HABPI) lanes though town.
The plan also proposes providing funds to the Gettysburg Area Recreational Authority (GARA) to help them generate revenue. Gable said GARA should not have to rely on the money given annually to them by the borough and by Cumberland Township and should instead try to become self-sufficient.
The borough will help GARA update their bathrooms and resurface their parking lots. Gable noted that the Gettysburg Hospital rents spaces in one of the lots.
Another money-maker in the works is a proposed summer splash pad and winter ice rink at the rec park which is expected to be a money-maker for GARA.