DuBOIS — A ribbon cutting ceremony on Friday officially opened Sandy Township’s new Industrial Drive Extension, a road which connects Shaffer Road to Industrial Drive opening up more than 200 acres of property for commercial and light industrial development.

The road, which is slightly more than one-half mile, connects the area behind Walmart to the land behind Planet Fitness and Lowe’s in the township.

Those participating in the event were all five supervisors, including Chairman Kevin Salandra, Jim Jeffers, Mark Sullivan, Bill Beers and Sam Mollica; township Manager Shawn Arbaugh; township Engineer Mike Haynes; and Catherine Nedza, who donated slightly more than 1 acre of land to help them complete the project.

Arbaugh said the project started with North Central Regional Planning Commission (NCRPC), who helped the township get the funding for the $1.1 million project.

“They really were the starting point of the project. We really appreciate (their) work on this,” said Arbaugh, noting that the Appalachian Regional Commission also helped “bring that funding piece together.”

Also acknowledged for helping with the project were the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, engineer Lee Woolrich, Stiffler McGraw engineering team, Sandy Township staff, including Haynes, and contractor Francis J. Palo Inc. of Clarion.

“This is a great project. It’s going to open up over 200 acres to expansion for the area and hopefully that’s going to lead to a lot of new jobs,” said Salandra. “I think with what we have committed now there’s already 100 new jobs planned for the development back here. I’d like to echo thanks to everybody that Shawn’s already mentioned.”

“It’s been a long time coming, over 20 years,” said Beers, who also echoed Arbaugh’s comments.

“I’ve been involved with the township for over 20 years, this was a dream back then,” said Jeffers. “It should have been in existence a couple of years ago, but we ran into a wetlands issue, but now a dream has come to a reality and I hope the businesses come.”

“This project went through so many different issues and trials and tribulations to get done,” said Arbaugh following the ribbon cutting. “They (township) originally went for a grant back in 2010. It was finally awarded in 2015 and then design was going forward, ready for construction, and they found there were some wetland issues that were unresolved. They had to go back and redesign the project. It ended up costing more than the original estimates, then they had to come back and ask for more money. Luckily ARC and North Central Regional Planning Commission came through and was able to find some more money for the project. We’re excited to have it done and completed finally. We are looking forward to businesses getting established back here and really growing the area. That’s really what it’s all about and trying to make the area better.”

Also pleased to see the access road completed, Mollica said, “I hope the next phase starts with a connector to Interstate 80. That would be my goal, and it’d make it smooth sailing, it would get the trucks off the secondary roads and have them go directly to the industrial park.”

“If they (businesses) do come and they do build, there is a third phase to this,” said Jeffers. “There’s a road that goes off the top there behind Morningside Cemetery, it’ll come out between the cemetery and the hotel. That’s to alleviate these two intersections from heavy truck traffic. That would be with quite a bit of building up here where the truck traffic would increase, but that’s phase three. But this is what was completed, phase two. There are some people dreaming of an exit, too, just for this industrial park. I don’t see it myself. Those exits are very, very expensive, but, you’ve got to dream, if you don’t dream, reality can’t come.”

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