Now that Gov. Tom Wolf approved $4.2 million in funding for development of an industrial park on a long dormant property in the Slate Belt, construction could begin this summer.
That’s the plan for the Green Knight Industrial Park II in Plainfield Township and Wind Gap off Route 33. The Green Knight Economic Development Corp., a nonprofit that owns the property, received a $1.57 million grant and a $2.36 million loan to install roads, streets, water and sewer infrastructure, utilities and other site work to prep the land for construction of several buildings.
The governor made the announcement Thursday afternoon in a news release. The funds come through the Commonwealth Financing Authority, which approved the funding under the state’s Business in Our Sites program.
Chad Helmer, senior project manager for Taggart Associates, a consulting firm in Bethlehem, is working with the Green Knight organization to develop the property and said he was thankful the state approved the application. Further municipal and state approvals are needed, which should take a month or two, he added.
Helmer said the organization is going through the subdivision process for the project with both Plainfield Township and Wind Gap, since the property covers both municipalities. He is hopeful the subdivision will be approved as well as the required wastewater and stormwater permits.
“They’ve been very supportive of our efforts,” Helmer said, referring to the state Department of Environmental Protection, which is the agency that approves the permits and has the application.
Once that process is complete, infrastructure work would start in the summer or possibly the fall.
The 56-acre site is a former tire-shredding business that’s been vacant for years; the organization has been working on the project since 2011.
Since there are some quarry holes on site, only about 30 of the 56 acres are developable.
“Overall, it’s a very challenging project, and we’ve been working on it for a long time,” Helmer said. “With funding in place, that’s a big key to move forward.”
The total estimated cost of the project is $4.9 million and is expected to create 280 jobs, the majority of which are projected in manufacturing.
The organization is focused on community and economic development, Helmer said.
“That’s their focus, to bring high quality jobs,” Helmer said.
Once the infrastructure is in place, the industrial park will become more attractive and the organization can start to talk to developers and end users, he said.
“That will be the next phase of the project,” Helmer said. “We will have more of a product. You can really start to talk to end users. We’ve had some interest expressed. We are excited about the demand we are going to get there.”
The entrance to the site is off Male Road.
With its proximity to Route 33 and the Route 512 interchange, the site has strong potential for prospects, he said.