Pa. grant could boost job options

December 16, 1997

Pa. grant could boost job options


Staff Writer, Chambersburg

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - At least 535 new jobs could be created in Chambersburg when an Allegheny Power electric substation is relocated to the Chambers 5 Business Park, according to state Rep. Jeffrey Coy, R-Pa.

Coy announced Monday afternoon that the Franklin County Area Development Corporation was awarded a $400,000 state grant to assist in relocating the substation and moving electric lines underground.

The development corporation applied for the funding to relocate the substation, currently off of Interstate 81 just south of Exit 5, to attract several companies to the business park, said L. Michael Ross, president.


One Chambersburg company in particular, Hennessy Products Inc., on Progress Road, which is considering building a new manufacturing plant at the business park, would require the substation to be relocated, Ross said.

The company, which manufactures aluminum outdoor enclosures for the telecommunications industry, is also considering renovating an 180,000-square-foot warehouse on Commerce Street.

"We just don't have enough room to grow," said Michael Hennessy, president and chief executive officer of Hennessy Products Inc.

The company has outgrown its five-acre manufacturing facility, which was built in 1970. Though Hennessy said he originally planned to add on to the existing plant, there isn't enough land to expand.

The substation project would tie into three other companies planning or negotiating to move into the park, which could create the new jobs.

Dermody Owen, LCC of Reno, Nev., agreed last month to buy 23 acres on which to build and lease distribution and warehouse space.

The company plans to build a 240,000-square-foot distribution center next spring and lease it to a consumer products company in October 1998. The firm will also build 150,000 square feet of public warehouse space.

Franklin Storage Inc., a local developer of warehousing and light industrial space, and Bitrek Inc., one of the nation's leading producers of pipe nipples and couplings, are also considering a move to the business park, Ross said.

"We're cautiously optimistic on all four companies," Ross said, adding that the development corporation has not received official commitment from Hennessy, Franklin Storage and Bitrek.

If the companies decide to build at the business park, Ross said it would create "significant economic development out there and we're very excited about those possibilities."

Coy, who supported the project in letters to the state Department of Commerce and Economic Development, said in a prepared statement that "the state's commitment to building jobs will make 1998 a much better year for our community, which has suffered a number of business closures and job losses over the past two years."

The business park opened in 1989 with 350 acres. So far, more than 1,800 jobs have been generated in the 25 companies that have opened there.

There are 125 acres left unsold at the park.

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