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Hagerstown company moving to Letterkenny

November 20, 1998|By DON AINES

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - A Hagerstown, Md., manufacturer is moving north of the Mason-Dixon Line to take advantage of the downsizing of Letterkenny Army Depot.

Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority Chairman Robert Zullinger announced Thursday the authority board had approved a sale agreement with Paper and Inc., a cellulose insulation manufacturer, for a 90,000-square-foot building at the depot.

The announcement came during a ceremony announcing the turnover of 234 acres and 1 million square feet of building space from the Department of the Army to the authority. The Army eventually will turn over 1,500 acres to the authority for development of its Cumberland Valley Business Park.

Franklin County Area Development Corporation Executive Director L. Michael Ross said the company is moving from a much smaller plant on Maugans Avenue to one of many depot warehouses being abandoned by the Army.

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Earlier this week Agway Inc. of Syracuse, N.Y., announced it will open an animal feed plant at another depot warehouse.

"Our raw material is newspapers," said Doug Balleine, the marketing director for Applegate Insulation, of Webberville, Mich. He said Paper and Inc., one of a family of companies owned by Applegate, makes insulation from recycled newsprint.

Balleine said the product is 40 percent more efficient than fiberglass insulation while requiring a fraction of the energy to manufacture.

Ross said the company opened in Hagerstown three years ago and employs 24 people. He said the plant at the depot should employ more than 40 people within three years.

"If all goes well, it's conceivable they could be at 100 people in three years," Ross said.

According to Ross, the Pennsylvania Economic Development Fund has approved a $2 million tax-exempt revenue bond to help finance the project. He said Paper and Inc.'s investment, including building acquisition, remodeling and equipment, is about $2.5 million.

At the reception following the ceremony at the Franklin County Courthouse, Zullinger handed out mementos inscribed with "Failure Was Not an Option," a motto adopted by the authority when the Base Realignment and Closure Commission voted in 1995 to downsize the 19,000-acre depot.

County Commissioner G. Warren Elliott noted that since then, the community created the Letterkenny Industrial Development Authority, the Franklin County General Authority and other organizations to manage the transfer of land, buildings and utilities.

The process also involved an infusion of several million dollars of federal and state money.

"If you take all those ingredients ... we have a recipe for success," Elliott said.

Elliott said the authority is negotiating sale or lease agreements with companies for 90 percent of the building space available in the first phase of the conveyance.

Thirteen companies employing more than 300 people are now operating or are set to open at the depot, Elliott said.

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