Congressman John P. Murtha, State Senator John Wozniak, State Representative Edward Wojnaroski, and other elected and business leaders today joined officials from Johnstown Industrial Development Corporation (JIDC) and JARI to break ground on a 92-acre expansion of the Johnstown Business Park. The expansion will double the size of the existing Park and strengthen efforts to attract and retain growing businesses to the region. It is scheduled for completion in October. JIDC, an affiliate of JARI, owns and manages the site, as well as three additional business park sites in Cambria and Somerset Counties.
In addition to Congressman Murtha, Senator Wozniak and Representative Wojnaroski, those who pitched the first shovelfuls of dirt included Jim Greco, chairman of the JIDC Board of Directors; Dan DeVos, chairman of the JARI Board of Directors; Linda Thomson, president of JARI; and other business and civic leaders. The Johnstown Business Park is located off of Route 219 in Richland Township.
"Our region is enjoying some of the lowest unemployment figures in memory - just 4.1 percent," noted Congressman Murtha. "By working together, both businesses and the community, we have successfully created an environment that works well for economic development and for hardworking families," added Murtha. "With today's groundbreaking, we're keeping this positive momentum going and setting the stage for future growth across the region."
Congressman Murtha, Senator Wozniak and Representative Wojnaroski were instrumental in helping to secure federal and state funding for the $4.9 million project. Funding partners included the federal Economic Development Administration and the Appalachian Regional Commission, as well as the state-sponsored Business in Our Sites and the Infrastructure Development Program. Additional funding came from other state sources and support from JIDC.
"Since 2002, JARI has helped create more than 3,300 jobs. During that same time, more than 100 companies have settled in our community or expanded their operations," said Senator Wozniak. "Many of those jobs are right here, in the Johnstown Business Park. With today's groundbreaking, we're opening the door to even more opportunities, giving companies the shovel-ready' sites they're looking for and the support they need to grow and flourish."
Representative Wojnaroski noted that the expansion is another way in which the region is preparing for future growth. "When companies are ready to make the move to a new community, they can't wait for sites to be developed," he said. "They require sites that can meet their immediate needs. With several new parcels ready to go, we'll be there help them reach their goals."
According to Ms. Thomson, the expansion will include nine new parcels that are zoned for light industrial or office use. Targeted tenants include those in the high technology, light manufacturing, health care, defense, warehouse distribution and office use sectors. The parcels are larger than existing tracts and equipped with appropriate infrastructure, such as digital fiber optic telecommunications, to better meet the needs of 21st century industrial users. In addition, several acres have been reserved for "green space" to provide a park-like setting for tenants.
"The Johnstown Business Park expansion is a great example of what can be achieved when partners work toward a common goal," she said. "Together with Congressman Murtha, Senator Wozniak, Representative Wojnaroski, Richland Township and so many others, we have created an affordable state-of-the-art site where businesses can really take root and grow."
Thomson also expressed her thanks to the JIDC and JARI Boards of Directors for their support and leadership during the multi-year planning and implementation phase.
She gave special recognition to Jim Edwards, a long-time JARI board member whose leadership continues to help JARI meets its long-term mission. Toward that end, Thomson announced that JARI has named the Park's primary road, Jim Edwards Drive, in his honor.
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