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Cinetic Landis keeping mum on date of move from Waynesboro

Employees could transfer to new plant in Halfway area

Employees could transfer to new plant in Halfway area

July 07, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - The former Landis Tool Co., a business that started in Waynesboro and remained a major employer in the community for 119 years, is leaving town - but when?

The Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp.'s president said that the last he heard, the plan was for the employees of Cinetic Landis Grinding Corp. to return from the holiday weekend and report for work at the company's new plant in Washington County.

However, a Washington County economic developer said the business has been talking about using both plants simultaneously for several weeks to instead phase in operations at the $10.5 million Newgate Industrial Park site.

The Herald-Mail placed several phone calls to local representatives of the Cinetic Landis Grinding Corp. over the course of June. After submitting questions in writing to the corporate headquarters as requested, the reporter was told a week later to not expect a response.

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"They're hoping to transfer down their existing work force," said Timothy Troxell, executive director of the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission.

Troxell estimated that the business employs 150 people, while L. Michael Ross from the Franklin County Area Development Corp. placed the number closer to 185.

Troxell said he's seen help wanted advertisements for the new plant, which is in the Halfway area.

"They do have an aging work force," Troxell said. "They have some folks up for retirement."

Cinetic Landis Grinding Corp., a Groupe Fives-Lille company, will continue to manufacture camshafts and crank shafts, Troxell said.

"They get used worldwide for the automotive industry," he said.

Ross and a Waynesboro borough councilman confirmed that community leaders met recently with the company that owns the soon-to-be-vacant Sixth Street plant. Intermec Inc., of Everett, Wash., holds a lease agreement with Cinetic Landis Grinding Corp. through the end of the year.

The Borough of Waynesboro and the Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp. suggested that Intermec donate the property for them to redevelop, Councilman Ronnie Martin said. The entities laid out a plan to convert the property into a small industrial park, tearing down some of the older buildings and rehabilitating the 100,000-square-foot erecting floor, he said.

Company representatives were not interested in donating the property, Martin said, but they did express an interest in carrying out the plan privately.

"They're looking at doing what we suggested, and if it works out, it'll be a great win for the area. A lot will have to wait to be seen," Martin said, saying the main focus is "to get it redeveloped and create some jobs."

In 1879, Waynesboro's Geiser Manufacturing Co. purchased the steam engine works of F.F. and A.B. Landis of Lancaster, Pa. The brothers started working with machine tools while at the company, then broke off on their own in 1889, according to the Waynesboro Area Industrial Heritage Trust.

The Landis plant on Ringgold Street burned down in a fire in 1897. Waynesboro investors rebuilt the plant on Sixth Street and opened it as Landis Tool Co., which focused on grinding equipment.

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