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County eyes new development near fairgrounds for park

November 16, 2010

A large, 120 acres of land (seen here) near the Jefferson County Fairgrounds may be developed into a business park. The property owner discussed development options and objectives with the Jefferson County Commissioners last Tuesday. (Photo by Matthew Steffy/The Punxsutawney Spirit)

BROOKVILLE — “I want to see jobs brought to the area. That is very important to me and something that I want to see accomplished here,” Paula Foradora said to the Jefferson County Commissioners last Tuesday.

Foradora, general manager of Nine-Star Capital LP, discussed plans for the development of a business park on Route 28 near the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Christopher Nasuti, vice-president of Lee-Simpson Associates, the engineering consultant for Nine-Star Capital, said the parcel has been thoroughly reviewed and is suitable for development.

The parcel is more than 120 acres, and a site review included a study of the geology, roadway systems, topography, environmental restrictions and utilities available in the area.

“The size of the parcel, the access to roads and the topography allow the ground to be developed in any way that the owner sees fit,” Nasuti said, adding that the layout is such that development could be done in phases to lessen upfront cost.

Foradora, a Brookville native, said she has received numerous offers on the property but has refrained from selling because she wants to see it properly developed.

“This piece is of particular interest to me,” she said. “The fair authority was donated by my family. We would like to see this area developed, and not just as a transient stop for trucks.

“A line that we are all familiar with: If you built it, they will come. Let’s build it and allow them to come,” Foradora said.

By build it, Foradora was referring to road construction and utility installation. To accomplish that, she hopes to work with state and local government to obtain grant funding.

“I’ve talked with (state) Sen. Joe Scarnati,” she said. “He has shown commitment and said he will try to find funds. We ask for the same commitment from the county.”

Former Jefferson County Director of Development Craig Coon was working with Nine-Star Capital, but he resigned in October. Therefore, Foradora had no county representative with whom to work.

County Commissioners Jim McIntyre and Jeffrey Pisarcik named Kristen Hullihen as the intermediary, and expressed support.

“We’ll be supportive of the efforts in any way possible,” McIntyre said. “Your vision is very well thought-out in that you want to make a long-term impact.”

Foradora said a long-term, 10- to 20-year impact was very feasible, but that the roads had to be constructed first.

“No business can afford to put roads into a new area,” she said. “That’s why we’re working for grants to develop that. That is where the cooperation with local government agencies comes in.”

Foradora is confident that the land can be developed, and business can be attracted to the area. Some businesses, including Schlumberger Inc., recently located in Brookville because of proximity to I-80 and the relatively centralized location for Marcellus Shale extraction services.

Nasuti said the land could be developed for $3.7 million, or $27 per acre. That cost is below the average cost for new land development, he said. The key, Foradora said, is commitment from local government agencies to begin the development process.

“We can do a lot,” she said. “We just need to work together as a community. Let’s get it done and further the community’s economic development.”

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