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Letterkenny to get land parcel from Army

November 17, 1998

Letterkenny gets landBy DON AINES / Staff Writer, Chambersburg

file photo




CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - The Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority will celebrate a milestone on Thursday when it is expected to accept 234 acres of land from the Department of the Army.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Installations and Housing Paul Johnson will be on hand for the 11:30 a.m. ceremony at the Franklin County Courthouse, according to Letterkenny Army Depot spokesman Alan Loessy.

The transfer is the first of a series that eventually will turn 1,500 acres over to the authority as a result of a 1995 decision by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission to downsize the depot, according to authority spokeswoman Deb Garvin.

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The authority is developing the Cumberland Valley Business Park on the excess property and will use Thursday's ceremony to announce that several new companies will locate there, Garvin said.

The authority was created by the county commissioners to develop and manage the property. Known as a rural economic development conveyance, the transaction is a no-cost land transfer.

Army and authority officials also are scheduled to sign the memorandum of agreement on the transfer of all the land and utilities the military is relinquishing at the 19,000-acre depot.

Loessy said Col. R. Gary Dinsick, chief of the Army Base Realignment and Closure Commission Office, will be at the ceremony, along with representatives from the Army Materiel Command and the military's Aviation and Missile Command.

Three years ago, political, business and community leaders fought the downsizing of the depot, which at the time was the county's largest employer. While a military presence will remain at the depot, the federal and state governments have funneled millions of dollars to the authority to redevelop the land and buildings that will be transferred.

The latest effort is to create a 283-acre Keystone Opportunity Zone at the depot. Companies locating in the zone will be exempt from paying state and local taxes between 1999 and 2011.

Most of the land is undeveloped, but it includes one building where production of the Paladin self-propelled howitzer is scheduled to end next year.

The county, Chambersburg Area School District, Greene and Letterkenny townships still have to approve the plan, which must be submitted to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development by the end of the year.

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