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Gov. Rendell Endorses Rail Yard Move with $10 Million Grant

Pennsylvania Gov. Edward G. Rendell announced on Dec. 5 that the state is investing $10 million in the next phase of a plan to relocate a city rail yard north of the Franklin & Marshall College campus, saying it will stimulate economic activity and revitalize northern Lancaster city.

“This project represents the next major step forward in building a strong economy and strong community for Lancaster and the surrounding region,” Rendell said during a ceremony at the Ann and Richard Barshinger Life Sciences & Philosophy Building at Franklin & Marshall.

“This is a prime example of public-private partnership that will stimulate economic growth and reconnect the eastern and western sections of the city that have been divided for more than a century,” Rendell said.

Noting the significant reductions he has made to the Commonwealth’s budget, the Governor added, “We have to cut, but there are some things that we have to invest in.”

The grant is for the relocation of a portion of the Norfolk Southern-Dillerville rail yard situated on the northern edge of campus and to remodel the main portion of the Dillerville rail yard.

A part of the rail yard would be relocated to an abandoned dump site along the rail line behind the U.S. Post Office on Harrisburg Pike. The waste would be excavated and properly disposed of by the project partners.

“This initiative, combined with the demolition of the Armstrong World Industries flooring plant, is a critical project for us, for our partners and for Lancaster,” said Franklin & Marshall College President John Fry.

He said the project would provide robust economic development for the city in addition to allowing the College and Lancaster General Hospital to grow.

Relocating and remodeling of the rail yard will provide space to develop a new athletics campus and will allow the College to expand academic buildings and facilities on its core campus, Fry said.

Additionally, it will give Lancaster General Hospital the option of relocating its College of Nursing & Health Sciences adjacent to Franklin & Marshall, allowing the health system to significantly increase its enrollment.

Lancaster city will derive the greatest benefit of all from this project, Fry added.

The consolidation of the rail yard will make it possible to connect northwest and northeast Lancaster — sectors of the city separated by the rail line and the Armstrong plant.

“This step will help to alleviate traffic congestion around the College and will give Lancaster the opportunity to develop a new mixed-use neighborhood north of downtown and immediately adjacent to our campus,” Fry said.

The entire project is expected to cost more than $40 million. The College and Lancaster General each are investing $6 million, and Norfolk Southern has pledged $2 million toward the project. The remaining funds will be secured from a variety of state and federal grant programs.

Franklin & Marshall College has partnered with Lancaster General Hospital, Norfolk Southern and the City of Lancaster on this project.

To watch WGAL-TV’s coverage of the event visit their Web site.