The Elizabethtown Borough Council reached a consensus that the borough should move forward on moving administrative offices to a historic building while keeping options open for where police headquarters should be.
“These buildings tell the story of our community and how it came to be,” Councilor Bill Troutman said about the value of preserving historic buildings.
The building at 56 N. Market St. dates to the 1700s; it was expanded in the early 20th century. It is now covered in stucco; an architect’s plan for it would restore it to its early 20th century appearance.
An architect’s study found that it would be feasible to renovate the fire station at 171 N. Mount Joy St. into a combined police-fire headquarters. However, it would be cheaper to keep the police department in the building at 600 S. Hanover St. that is also the current home of the borough’s main administrative offices. Police need more space for things including evidence storage and computer servers; the space now used by the borough’s administrative offices could be used by the police department.
Councilors voted unanimously at their meeting on Thursday, Feb. 7, to get appraisals for three parcels now owned by the borough: the current administrative-police headquarters building, a house next to that building now used as an annex to borough offices, and the public works building at 101 E. Plum St. that is being replaced by a new building. The amount of money the borough could expect to get from the sale of the current administrative-police headquarters building is one factor to be considered in whether police headquarters should stay there or move to the fire station.
One issue with the building at 56 N. Market St. is that its parking lot is small; council members expressed concern that the public would have difficulty attending borough meetings with so little parking. One possible solution raised was to offer to buy some neighboring land on West Hummelstown Street and use that for parking.
In another matter, council members discussed options for increasing pedestrian safety on a section of South Mount Joy Street between Ridge Road and Ridgeview Avenue that has no sidewalks. There are trees, utility poles and walls extending to near where the curb is, so installing a sidewalk in the usual manner would be highly disruptive. The idea discussed was to put the pedestrian path in what is now part of the street, adding in a new curb and making the street a bit narrower. Council members agreed to notify affected property owners and to consider action at their next meeting on Thursday, Feb. 21.