BROOKVILLE — The Jefferson County Development Council has had a very busy and successful year.
JCDC executive director Brad Lashinsky addressed the record audience at the annual luncheon last week and outlined the projects the JCDC has been involved in 2017.
“Through our USDA revolving loan fund, this year we have helped finance four projects including additional rentals in Cook Forest, a metal milling facility to be built in Falls Creek, a BBQ restaurant in Brookville and finally an expansion project regarding metal injection molding in Falls Creek. Through these loans we have helped to retain or create 30 jobs,” said Lashinsky.
Lashinsky said the Sunnyside Energy Park, located in Ringold Township, will consist of a 400-acre park with LNG, CNG, Water Treatment and a Co-gen station. He said the project, once fully developed, will create over 100 jobs.
“The Former Jackson China Site, located in Falls Creek, is now owned by the borough and has been cleared through DEP and EPA as a developable brownfield site. The property is 16 acres in total with rail siding which we are helping to market,” he said.
“The Reynoldsville Blueprint Community has been an effort by a group of Reynoldsville citizens to help with improvements to the borough,” said Lashinsky. “These improvements would include a downtown facade program, park enhancements and incubator space for business start-ups. JCDC is acting as a consultant with them.
“The Sykesville Town Square in downtown Sykesville was a former blighted property that the local chamber and the borough were able to demolish and in its place, construct a town square. Through the development of this project we acted as a consultant providing insight and input,” he said.
“Zachrich Trucking is located near the Hazen Exit of Interstate-80,” said Lashinsky. “Zachrich hauls for Craft Foods and McDonalds and as a result of new truck monitoring regulations (GPS/Computerized travel logs) going into effect at the beginning of next year has built an eight acre facility to house and monitor their trucks.
“JCDC has worked as a consultant with them through the development process. We also have been able to help facilitate a relationship between Zachrich and Jeff Tech in an effort to help place successful students within the CDL program into the workforce immediately,” he said.
“We have assisted Cresco Yeltrah with helping to address questions regarding the permitting phase of construction, workforce development needs and general business contacts. We hope to continue to be an asset to them with their ongoing operation within the community of Brookville,” said Lashinsky.
“This year we created the Jefferson County Regional Partnership. This is a resource team designed to assist businesses with project development: Including workforce development needs, financial lending and marketing. Our partners include: The Brookville, Punxsutawney and DuBois Area Chambers of Commerce, Penn State DuBois, IUP Punxsutawney, BC3, Jeff Tech, the PA Career Link, Veterans Administration, North Central Regional Planning and Development Commission, Workforce Solutions of North Central PA and Clarion Small Business Development Center,” he said.
“This resource team has proven to be successful, offering a single coordinated group, meeting to a business to discuss ways in which we can all help assist in their needs. From what we are hearing, this initiative is one of a kind and only done here in Jefferson County,” said Lashinsky.
“The former Days Inn, a blighted hotel on 12 acres at the Brookville Exit of Interstate 80 is about 50% demolished. The previous ownership was nearly $500,000 in debt service with taxes and liens. JCDC was able to negotiate the debt service and take ownership. In lieu of demoing the property ourselves we sold to Legacy Truck Centers which will construct a 35,000 sq./ft. facility and employ 40 within two to three years. At this time, I would like to recognize the owners of Legacy Truck Centers, Matt and John Neibaurer. I would like to thank you again for your commitment to Brookville,” he said.
“I would also like to mention that gaining site control of this property would not have been possible without the tough decision of delinquent tax exoneration that the County Commissioners, Borough Council and the Brookville School Board had to make. It is through this collaborative effort that the JCDC Board of Directors and myself felt that it was imperative with the sale of the property that we give those tax dollars back which, besides getting the property razed and adding a new business, was truly a highlight of the project,” he said.
All of the had work has not gone unnoticed.
The Pennsylvania Economic Development Association (PEDA) is the statewide association of local, state, corporate and non-profit economic development professionals. Having well over 500 members, PEDA’s mission is to promote sound economic development policies, provide leading-edge economic development education and nurture an effective statewide economic development network to foster the economic growth of the Commonwealth.
“This year JCDC has been nominated through the Association for the 2017 Economic Development Partner of the Year Award,” said Lashinsky. “We will hear the results later this month at the annual fall conference in Allentown. The JCDC is a private corporation.
Lashinsky reported that the membership in the JCDC has grown from 87 to 115 in one year.