The Franklin County Visitors Bureau (FCVB) purchased of a former bank property at 15 South Main Street on the southwest quadrant of Chambersburg’s Memorial Square. The nearly 10,000-sq. ft. building will be a launching point for visitors to Franklin County, providing a variety of rotating exhibits, displays of local art, originating tours to destinations throughout the county, and providing expanded awareness to Franklin County’s events and destinations. FCVB will utilize the bank’s vault as a small theatre for visitors to view a variety of videos, including “Road to Freedom: Underground Railroad of South Mountain” and “1864 Burning of Chambersburg.” In addition, an area will be designated as a resource library of local publications and online resources of Franklin County. As FCVB’s new home, 15 South Main Street will house the administrative offices and include a 950-sq.ft. meeting and event space for FCVB to stage seminars, presentations, and hold community events.
Along with the new location, FCVB is planning to begin a Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA) Program to create an educated, trained pool of volunteers to interpret and share the many stories of Franklin County. With significant early American, Underground Railroad, and Civil War history, Franklin County has a rich heritage. Complementing this history are important PA conservation stories, fresh foods, seasons of festivals, performing arts venues, varied arts and artisan initiatives, and distinctive community architecture. All will be incorporated into specific Franklin County training and will give many opportunities for CTAs to tell Franklin County’s stories.
FCVB will begin the CTA Program in Fall 2017 and hopes to train more than five dozen CTAs by the end of the year.
Design for the facility is presently under development. Rehab to the property is expected to begin in summer 2017, and FCVB is targeting move-in for December 2017. 2018 promises to be an eventful and formative year for tourism in Franklin County, PA.