An early Christmas gift from Harrisburg

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Two days before Christmas, the Corbett administration passed out some gifts in the form of 58 Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program projects across Pennsylvania totaling more than $133 million. These projects are forecast to create or sustain nearly 45,000 jobs in 24 counties in various corners of the commonwealth.

Reaping some of the benefits of Harrisburg’s year-end generosity were Greene and Washington counties, receiving $1.5 million and $4.5 million, respectively. The funds will be used for three projects that fall within the RACP criteria of “displaying significant potential for improving economic growth and the creation of jobs.”

In Greene County, the grant was awarded to Greene County Industrial Development Inc., to construct an access road and install utilities for an additional two, 10-acre pad-ready sites at EverGreene Technology Park. The $1.5 million is a welcome infusion of money that will go toward the next development phase at the park, which is expected to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $5 million.

This comes as particularly good news, since EverGreene is intended to be an economic magnet that will attract new business to Greene County. The 248-acre park has five tenants. One building is occupied by Consol Energy Inc.; another by the Waynesburg Readiness Center of the Pennsylvania National Guard; a third houses the R.J. Lee Group and the Greene County campus of Westmoreland County Community College. R.J. Johnson Co. recently completed construction of two buildings at the park and is in the process of moving into the buildings. GCID is preparing to develop the additional acreage and expects to seek bids for the work in January.

Two other companies also will be moving into the park next year: Red Cedar Partners LLC recently purchased 14.8 acres at the park and will construct a building there for FMC Technologies Inc., a global oil and natural gas equipment service corporation. In addition, Irwin Car and Equipment, a coal mining supply company, purchased two acres of land there this year and plans to begin construction of a building early next year.

The two projects in Washington County include $1.5 million to renovate the 80-year-old former YWCA building, a plan spearheaded by Tri-County Patriots for Independent Living of Southwestern Pennsylvania, which plans to open the building as a community center. Also, the Mon Rivers Partners and Mon River Industrial Group, were awarded $3 million to redevelop the site of the former Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel’s Allenport plant.

The grant money will not come close to covering all the costs associated with these projects, but it will be sufficient to move these projects toward becoming more than just words on application forms and drawings crafted by architects.

We agree wholeheartedly with what state Sen. Tim Solobay said when he, along with other legislators from Washington and Greene counties, publicly announced the grant dollars were coming our way. Solobay explained the awards were good news for the project organizers and for the local economy. It’s hard to argue with that.

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