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Industrial park gets funds after 20 years

September 22, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - It took 20 years, but a 120-acre patch of ground off Wharf Road in Zullinger, Pa., will be transformed from unproductive farmland into Franklin County's newest industrial park.

State Sen. Terry Punt, R-Franklin, said Tuesday during a press conference at the site, that the county will receive a $900,000 grant to begin construction on the industrial park.

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Some of the money will be spent to improve access into the park by adding a turn lane on Wharf Road at the park's entrance, Punt said.

Land for the park was bought in 1978 by the Waynesboro Industrial Development Association. It was zoned industrial but lay dormant for two decades because there was no money to develop it.

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In 1998, job losses in southern Franklin County mounted with cutbacks at Letterkenny Army Depot, the impending closing of Fort Ritchie and downsizing of some area industries, Punt said.

Punt said that a year ago he began discussing the need to start work on the park with the Washington Township Supervisors and members of the Greater Waynesboro Chamber of Commerce.

Plans call for cutting the park into 18 parcels of various sizes to attract different kinds of industry, he said. Light manufacturing and high-tech industries will be targeted as tenants to add as many as 500 new jobs to the area, he said.

G. Warren Elliott, president of the Franklin County Commission, said the new park fits in with the county's first upgrade of its master plan in 20 years. "This is the way we need to grow," he said.

Land for the park is considered nonproductive farmland, Elliott said. Setting it aside for industrial growth protects highly productive farmland with good soil elsewhere in the county, he said.

"That's not what we're standing on today," he said.

L. Michael Ross, executive director of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation, said the new park will add to the diversification of the county's industrial base.

It will provide family-sustaining jobs with higher wages, and opportunities for local businesses to expand and new ones to come in, he said.

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