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Planners support DeGol project

Blair County Planning Commission members are offering support for an expansion project at the DeGol Industrial Center in Frankstown Township — a project which could lead to new jobs for the area.

DeGol is applying for a grant under the CFA Multimodal Transportation Fund to construct rail lines that will also allow for a proposed cross dock facility.

Cross dock facilities are used to unload materials from incoming railcars and then to load those materials directly into outbound trucks or other railcars, with little storage in between, according to a letter from Nicholas DeGol to the planning commission.

The proposed project includes installing two switches, bumping blocks and about 8,000 feet of new track to connect existing Norfolk Southern rail lines. The project implements recommendations made in a “highest and best” use analysis that suggested this portion of the property be developed to support industrial and commercial uses, DeGol said.

Installing the connecting rail lines at the DeGol Industrial Center will ensure that Blair County has a rail/freight hub to serve existing commercial and industrial customers along with generating jobs. Completion of the project will provide the county with a rail-based economic development asset and will directly expand the economic development potential of the region, DeGol said.

The DeGol Industrial Center has been one of the most successful industrial and manufacturing site reuse efforts in the region and possibly the whole state, said Steve McKnight, president/CEO of Altoona Blair County Development Corp.

“The goal of the project is to add an additional 100,000 square feet of industrial space under roof with several additional acres for rail access and cross-docking ability,” McKnight said.

McKnight said the project will bring added value from both transportation and distribution interests along with manufacturing.

“The project as a whole is dependent upon key multimodal and rail grant funding, for which DeGol Industries is seeking through the commonwealth,” he said. “We hope those dollars come through to help offset the significant investment the company will be making in the buildings, site prep and access.”

McKnight said the project could bring in new manufacturing jobs, “which could range between 100 and 300 depending on the final user or multiple users and configuration they may need.”

The DeGol Industrial Center has 175 acres of undeveloped property and is a regionally significant, shovel ready, rail/freight development site. It is served by Norfolk Southern, is a designated Keystone Opportunity Zone and has water, sewer and electrical service. It has Act 2 environmental clearance for industrial development and has access to the regional highway network, DeGol said.

Mirror Staff Writer Walt Frank is at 814-946-7467.

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