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Rail facility planned for Antrim Township

August 07, 2009|By KATE S. ALEXANDER

GREENCASTLE, Pa. -- Years of planning a second major rail facility in Franklin County will go public next week when Norfolk Southern unveils plans for building near Exit 3 of Interstate 81 in Antrim Township, a company spokesman said Friday.

Norfolk Southern will announce its Franklin County Regional Intermodal Facility during a press conference Wednesday at the Mason-Dixon Auto Auction. Details of the announcement will not be made public before that day, despite media reports, Norfolk Southern spokesman Rudy Husband said.

The facility will be an anchor for Norfolk Southern's Crescent Corridor rail route, according to an invitation to the event. Husband said invitations were sent to about 300 people.

Among those invited were Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who has proposed $45 million for upgrades to the company's railroad system in the Commonwealth, and U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., who recently announced $3.4 million in federal funding for Exit 3.

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Reports that Rendell will attend the press conference in Antrim Township are premature, the governor's office said Friday.

Barry Ciccocioppo said the governor has been invited to attend the event, but whether he will make an appearance is still uncertain.

"The governor's schedule is not finalized until the day before," Ciccocioppo said. "He does not know if he will attend."

The Franklin County Area Development Corp. has been working with property owners and Norfolk Southern to add a rail facility in the southern end of the county, FCADC President Mike Ross said.

"What we are starting to see is a series of independent acts that ultimately benefit one another," Ross said. "From Shuster's money to Atapco acquiring land from Perini (Properties Inc.), we expect that Norfolk Southern will now help bring development to both the east and west of Exit 3."

Development in Antrim Township will be felt across the county and state, Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Gour said.

Gour estimated that when the Exit 3 area is developed, thousands of jobs will follow, along with a significantly increased commercial tax base.

Norfolk Southern is in the process of purchasing more than 200 acres for the site through Atapco Properties of Baltimore, according to Patrick Coggins, vice president of development for Atapco.

Atapco owns 200 acres adjacent to the site where Norfolk Southern will build the intermodal facility. Coggins said having the rail company as a neighbor will give Atapco additional marketing avenues for that land, known as the Antrim Commons Business Park.

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