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Commissioners approve natural gas pipeline extension

The Timber Run Industrial Park in Brady Township. KAREN VIBERT-KENNEDY/Sun-Gazette

The County Commissioners approved approximately $551,000 toward extending natural gas lines as part of developing the Timber Run Industrial Park in Brady Township. Total cost of the project is $870,000 with $280,000 coming from a state grant.

The industrial park is located on land across from the county’s landfill along Route 15.

Shannon Rossman, director of planning and community development, who presented the agreement with UGI Natural Gas for the commissioners’ approval, said that it was a formality that the utility company required to move forward with the project.

Digger Specialties Inc. has broken ground at the industrial park and will pay costs for running the gas line out to the building site.

“As soon as this is done, they should be able to start work very quickly,” Rossman said.

“It’s important to understand, if we want to bring employers and businesses here, we have to have certain infrastructures for them,” Commissioner Rick Mirabito said.

“If someone is building a factory, they don’t want to spend $800,000 to bring natural gas,” Mirabito said.

“Water, sewer access and natural gas are key components for the users at the industrial park,” Rossman said.

She noted that the natural gas, while it is close, is not adjacent.

“There will need to be some other improvements made along the natural gasline that supplies this area,” Rossman said. “But there will be additional capacity in the line we’re putting in to the industrial park.”

“We’re hopefully getting money for the water grant, we believe for $500,000 and this (grant) for $280,000. We’re still looking for some additional grants for the access. We should be going out for bid for that very soon,” she added.

Commissioner Tony Mussare said that the county develops a comprehensive plan every 10 years to try to determine what growth areas there are to expand into.

“The county — we feel we’re responsible for some of the economic development that happens regardless of what community it’s in. The Montgomery area was a major area,” he said.

“I think it’s very expensive when we see what we’ve put into the development of that parcel that we own,” Mussare said. “But, we are looking five, 10 years down the road, the jobs that it will create. The additional housing that will be placed there.”

He noted that the cost of the current project is just part of the costs associated with improving the parcel, which could run up to $4 million.

“But what a reward we get. We have a potential for up of 400-500 jobs,” Mussare said.

Commissioner Scott Metzger interjected that there is the potential of 575 to 850 jobs between two businesses in that area.

“We’re also planning on developing the front part of the golf course,” Mussare said. “That will bring in revenue.We feel very confident that those decisions we’re making currently will provide dividends down the line, just as it did in the Montoursville-to-Muncy corridor.”

Rossman noted that “both of those corridors are part of the Central Susquehanna Valley Thruway system.”

“So, not only will there be traffic changes, we’ll have additional capacity along the 180-corridor for potential future growth and development.” she said. “And, because of doing this on the 15-corridor, we’ll have additional capacity in this area and north on 15 in that area because once we put this infrastructure into Timber Run Industrial Park, and then move forward to moving infrastructure up north of the landfill and the industrial park, there are other industrial lands in there. There’s a potential to see additional commercial and industrial growth on both corridors.”

“There’s many opportunities in the county where we could sustain some very good industrial commercial growth,” she added.

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