"Greencastle is the hot spot in Franklin County," Mike Ross, president of Franklin County Area Development Corp., told members of the Greencastle-Antrim Chamber of Commerce at a breakfast meeting Thursday, Aug. 16, at Green Grove Gardens.
He said there has already been close to $1 billion in investment at Exit 3 of Interstate 81, including Eldorado Stone, Blaise Alexander, Norfolk Southern, Armada, Gate 7 and NorthPoint.
More is on the horizon, with Summit Health's new medical office building set to open next year and an A. Duie Pyle integrated logistics center proposed nearby. Penn Cherry just west of Upton on Route 16, which Ross called "almost Greencastle," a processor of cherry wood for shipment abroad, represents a $15 million investment and should be operational by the first of the year.
To the east in Washington Township, the Wharf Road Industrial Park started in 1999 is "now essentially built out," Ross said, crediting the Waynesboro Industrial Development Corp. and the Waynesboro community.
Earlier this month, the technical fiber manufacturer Fil-Tec purchased FCADC's spec building across from its existing location in the Wharf Road complex and a ground-breaking ceremony also is planned for a 50,000-square-foot building for Jamison Door.
Buildings like the ones in the industrial park are in demand for businesses in the supply chain of local manufacturers such as Manitowoc and Volvo.
Ross said FCADC is looking for a place to develop the next Wharf Road or Greencastle-Antrim Area Development Corp. industrial park.
One of the challenges that comes with growth is filling the jobs. On Aug. 6, there were 3,588 job openings in Franklin County, with just 2,700 unemployed. Another 1,100 jobs are expected in the region in the next year, with health care the fastest growing sector.
In a recent FCADC survey of the business community, 84 percent of the respondents plan to hire in 2018 and 19 percent plan physical expansions. The top 3 challenges are all work force related, with government regulations coming in at No. 4.
Another challenge is the need to improve infrastructure, not just roads, but also water and sewer lines. Greencastle's I-81 Exit 5 is a "nonperforming interchange," something the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation recognizes, Ross said.
The bottom line is managing economic development requires collaboration of employers, educators, social services and politicians and Ross' presentation featured a slide saying, "It takes all of us ... and all of you."
Coming upFCADC's annual banquet will be held Thursday, Sept. 6, at Green Grove Gardens. Kim Shockey, chair of this year's United Way campaign, spoke prior to Ross and talked about how United Way touches lives, with the agencies it supports serving some 22,000 people.
The kickoff for this year's campaign will be a tailgate at noon on Friday, Sept. 21, at Penn State Mont Alto.