CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Some 283 acres at Letterkenny Army Depot became a tax-free zone Thursday thanks to a new state initiative aimed at bringing economic development across Pennsylvania.
Gov. Tom Ridge criss-crossed the state Thursday announcing 12 Keystone Opportunity Zones where state and local taxes will be eliminated for 12 years in a move to create jobs and economic opportunity in what he called some of the state's most "challenged communities."
The Franklin County Commissioners, Chambersburg Area School District and Greene and Letterkenny townships have agreed to trade the taxes for economical development. The land earmarked for the tax-free zone has been undeveloped federal property that was not liable for local taxes ever since Letterkenny opened in the early 1940s. The base covers about 19,000 acres.
The 283 acres designated Thursday represent about 19 percent of the 1,500 acres the Army will eventually turn over to Franklin County for industrial and commercial development. The base was ordered to cut back its operations in 1995 by the Base Realignment and Closure Commission.