Hundreds of jobs may be coming

Two projects in Lycoming County that transportation planners have their eyes on could bring more than 700 jobs in the next few years if plans go according to schedule.

Details of the projects were discussed Monday at the Williamsport Area Transportation Study Coordinating Committee’s meeting.

A hotel, restaurant and retail development in Fairfield Township on 12 1/2 acres off of Brushy Ridge Road could bring 400 jobs, according to Mark Murawski, WATS member and county transportation planner.

“This is going to be fairly significant,” he said.

Previous news reports indicated that a Cambria Suites and related parcels at the site would be developed by Gregory Welteroth.

The WATS committee voted to accept the project into its transportation improvement project plans if the project is awarded a $360,000 Appalachian Regional Commission grant for access road work, which Murawski said could be completed by November 2014.

Welteroth has committed $90,000 to the project, according to the ARC grant application.

One committee member, however, expressed concerns that hotel development may already have reached a peak in Lycoming County.

“It seems we’re a little oversaturated with the business we’re talking about,” said City Councilwoman Liz Miele.

Harvey Katz, a Fairfield Township resident and member of the Coalition for Responsible Growth and Resource Conservation, agreed with Miele and said the development is being built on speculation.

Welteroth did not immediately return a call to the Sun-Gazette Monday evening for comment.

In Hughesville, developer Carl Schultz said his project at the intersection of Routes 220 and 405 easily could bring in 340 jobs with a planned new Best Western hotel, restaurant, convenience store and truck wash facility for the natural gas industry.

“That’s probably on the low side,” Schultz said estimated about the number of potential workers.

Murawski said the location sits at the “gateway to Marcellus Shale in the eastern end of the county.”

Because of the development, a state Department of Transportation traffic study will be completed at the intersection, according to Murawski.

“It will put a lot of pressure on the intersection,” Murawski said of the development.

New businesses will allow upgrades to the intersection, according to Schultz.

“For a long time they wanted to do something with that intersection, but it wasn’t feasible,” he said.

He said the location is a perfect spot for the hotel and related businesses, even without the presence of the natural gas industry.

“The lower end of the county has needed a hotel for a long time,” Schultz said.