Ingredients for Economic Success: One Part Planning, Two Parts Financing, A Dash of Luck
Talk to any economic development professional and they might tell you a fact about our chosen profession. That is while we all work hard to prepare data sheets, sites and buildings, in the end, a little luck doesn’t hurt.
Economic development is not an exact science nor for the faint of heart. It attracts folks who can dream big and take measured risks. Often that involves securing long term loans to develop speculative sites or buildings and then marketing the heck out of them. Years may pass before you ever see the full impact of the effort. But without that “big vision” being set and shared among many people and organizations, many communities would not be well positioned for when an investor may make a right turn instead of a left.
That lucky right turn happened for Blair County in 2013 when corporate leaders at Central States Manufacturing decided to drive down I-99 during a site search. Drawn by the mountains and interstate connectivity, they cold called ABCD Corporation and asked if any sites were available. They were and the rest as they say his history.
On September 12, 2017, ABCD celebrated the grand opening of Central States Manufacturing, a $5.8 million capital investment providing 50 of new jobs. Behind that lucky turn was some good planning and vision.
First, without the decision to complete I-99 connecting the PA Turnpike to our south and I-80 to our north, Blair County would not have been in the running for Central States or any of the major investments that have occurred along the corridor. The path to get to this section of road spans back 48 years when the first phase of the highway project was initiated. Through determined and visionary political representation (thanks Bud and Bill Shuster!!) I-99 was completed in 2008.
Second, without a shovel-ready business park we would not have been able to effectively answer Lady Luck’s knock from Central States. The Martin J. Marasco Business Park celebrated its groundbreaking in 2015 and was completed on the same day as Central States’ announcement. Again, the project required grit, determination, cooperation and nearly a decade of work by dedicated people.
We are ready for more opportunity to come knocking. Join us as we dream big for Blair County and plan for that next celebration. Mallo Cups for everyone!