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Packaging, delivery jobs coming soon

June 25, 2003|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

A mail packaging and delivery service company and more than 400 jobs are headed to Washington County, county Planning Director Robert Arch said Tuesday.

Arch said he could not reveal the name of the business but said the company plans to make a formal announcement soon.

Pittburgh-based FedEx Ground Spokesman David Westrick said in October 2002 that the company was looking at several sites in the Hagerstown area for a ground delivery service facility.

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Westrick would not say Tuesday whether the company chose to locate in Washington County but said an announcement would be made "very soon."

"We're hoping for some type of positive press announcement in the very, very near future from them," Economic Development Commission Director Tim Troxell said.

The County Commissioners on Tuesday voted 2-1 to apply to the state for a $1.2 million Community Development Block Grant to be put toward the purchase of 114.68 acres in the Hunter's Green Business Center along Hopewell Road near Halfway Boulevard.

Arch said a mail packaging and delivery service business would be located at that site.

As part of the same vote, the county agreed to contribute $200,000 toward the land purchase.

Commissioner John C. Munson voted against submitting the application, because he didn't support the county paying $200,000.

He said the county already expects to go into debt as a result of the Hagerstown Regional Airport's runway extension project and couldn't afford the contribution toward the land purchase.

"I agree with the whole thing except the $200,000," Munson said. "I can't vote for it."

Commissioners Vice President William J. Wivell and Commissioner James F. Kercheval voted for the grant application.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook and Commissioner Doris J. Nipps did not attend the meeting.

Of the more than 400 jobs the mail packaging and delivery service business would bring, Arch said 51 percent of the jobs would be targeted to those with low or moderate incomes.

"This is a good project for the county," Arch said.

As part of the project, Halfway Boulevard would be extended beyond Hopewell Road to U.S. 40, Arch said. The extension would be called New Gate Boulevard.

Troxell said the new road would open the Hunter's Green Business Center to more business development.

In October, Westrick said the jobs at his company's ground delivery service would range from part-time package handlers to management positions and professional engineers and that a facility would be at least 200,000 square feet.

The new FedEx Ground hub would be part of a $1.8 billion, six-year expansion to double the delivery service's network, Westrick has said. The three other announced hubs will be in Dallas, Memphis and Cincinnati.

FedEx Ground's largest hub, in Woodbridge, N.J., is approximately 400,000 square feet and employs 800 people, including independent contractors, Westrick has said.

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