PPL says a proposed power line will improve service, but officials in Sinking Spring say they fear it will be a big setback to the borough's revitalization efforts.
The borough has worked on BOSS 20-20, a plan to build a road parallel to Penn Avenue and lined with local businesses, since 2007.
"We need this project to actually go through for the borough to survive," said Michael Hart, the Sinking Spring borough manager.
Sinking Spring said PPL's proposed high-tension power line puts the project in jeopardy. It's set to go right through the center of our downtown that we're trying to build," said Hart.
PPL's plan will run an overhead power line 1.3 miles through Lower Heidelberg Township and Sinking Spring. The 69-kilowatt volt transmission line will connect to existing lines.
A spokesman said the company has looked at other routes, but overall, this is the most balanced plan.
"Number of folks, properties that we cross, environmental factors, cost factors, that type of thing. It's not about one factor, it's a balance of factors," said Joe Nixon, a spokesman for PPL.
Tony Guatieri has owned a pizzeria in Sinking Spring for 25 years. The line would pass right outside his door.
"It's no good for the people that gotta stay there almost 12 or 13 hours a day like me," said Guatieri, the owner of Paparonez's Pizza
He worries if the line goes up, it'll slow down business.
"People, they don't like to drive or walk underneath power lines for sure," said Guatieri.
The borough said PPL's plan could bankrupt it. Officials said they wouldn't see a return on what they've already invested.
"We're in tune to a little over $4 million, so far," Hart said.
The borough worries the power line will take too much of the property within their 10-acre plot project.
"It's going to take a big piece of the property, and it's going to create a zone that we can't do anything in which means we may not have a developer come in to take a serious look at our project," said Hart.
The borough hopes PPL will find a path away from people and away from the project.
"Hopefully, we can come to some better agreement," said Hart.
PPL said it's committed to working with the community, but ensuring that customers have reliable electricity remains its priority.
"We know that nobody wants one in their backyard, but really, it's critical for these investments to be made so that everybody has power when they need it most," said Nixon.
PPL hopes to break ground by the end of 2017. Construction would last for four months