Groundbreaking Held for Green Knight Industrial Park in Slate Belt
By Colin McEvoy on June 25, 2018
A ceremonial groundbreaking event was held last week for the future site of the Green Knight Industrial Park in Wind Gap and Plainfield Township.
The June 22 ceremony commemorated the start of construction on the new roadways and other public infrastructure that will service the future industrial park, which is located along Route 33 near the Route 512 interchange.
The Green Knight Industrial Park is expected to house a total of about 200,000 square feet of building space, with lots sized to meet the demand of small- to mid-sized manufacturers and industrial firms seeking to locate or expand in the region.
Among the speakers at the event was Andrew Kleiner, LVEDC Director of Redevelopment and External Affairs, who also leads LVEDC’s redevelopment program, the Lehigh Valley Land Recycling Initiative (LVLRI).
“The redevelopment initiative at LVEDC exists specifically to help sites like this,” Kleiner said. “At its completion the Green Knights, will have created a space for a significant amount of job creation in an area that is growing and that we’re very excited about.”
Upon full build out, the park is estimated to create approximately 280 jobs and generate approximately $300,000 annually in additional tax revenue for the community, according to the Green Knight Economic Development Corporation (GKEDC).
The park will be built on the former JH Beers property. Originally a slate quarry, by 2000 the site was the home of a tire-burning operation and the third largest tire dump in Pennsylvania.
LVEDC had been involved for years in redeveloping the site, having previously provided assistance with environmental assessments and developing a cleanup plan, Kleiner said.
Additionally, after Northampton County provided Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) funds for the cleanup, LVEDC helped obtain a grant for the project through the Pennsylvania Business in Our Sites (BOS) program, which seeks to help communities build an inventory of ready sites.
“We’ve been working toward this day for several years and we couldn’t be more excited to get construction underway” stated GKEDC Board Chairman Carlton Snyder. “A project like this requires an all-hands-on-deck approach, and we’ve been fortunate to have such a tremendous team of partners working with us to help bring this project to fruition.”
Through a series of grants and support from the state beginning in 2002 and totaling over $1.2 million, the majority of the tires were removed from the site, leaving only those that were located in a 2.3 acre quarry hole near Male Road.
For about a decade after the main tire pile cleanup, the 55-acre property sat mostly vacant, with its reuse potential severely limited by various quarry holes and slate spoil piles, the need to address the remaining tires, and various other environmental impairments indicative of brownfields properties.
GKEDC worked with the previous owner and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection over a period of about two years to negotiate an agreement that would allow for the redevelopment of the property. GKEDC took title to the site in the spring of 2015 and oversaw the acquisition, due diligence, site planning, and engineering of the site.
The GKEDC is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to facilitate community and economic development in the communities that make up the Pen Argyl School District in northern Northampton County.
The Green Knights use revenues from efficiently operating a methane-to-energy plant at the Grand Central Sanitary Landfill in Plainfield Township to support projects and initiatives that improve economic opportunities and the overall quality of life in their target area.
Construction of the infrastructure is scheduled to take place throughout the rest of 2018 and finish in the spring of 2019. Once the infrastructure has been installed, GKEDC will sell individual lots to developers and end users, who will construct the buildings and associated site work for their respective lots.
The infrastructure work will be constructed by Muschlitz Excavating. Bohler Engineering provided engineering design services and Taggart Associates has provided project management services on behalf of the GKEDC.
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