Greenville Reynolds Development continues expanding
Written for The Record-Argus by Holly Patterson
PYMATUNING TOWNSHIP —Over the past several years, the Greenville Reynolds Development Corp. has seen some ups and downs, as businesses and industries have closed or downsized, but looking forward, Executive Director Brad Goss-er said the future is looking bright for the industrial park.
“It’s been busy,” Gosser said. “The first thing everyone wants to talk about is the Damascus site,” referring to the plot of land that sits along Reynolds Industrial Park and North Hermitage roads, the former home of Damascus Steel.
Gosser said that improvements have been made possible partially through RACP funding. RACP, which stands for Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program, is a reimbursement grant program administered by the Pennsylvania Office of Budget, that provides financial assistance for the acquisition and construction of regional economic, cultural, civic and historical improvement projects.
“Going back to 2013, when we had a $2 million earmarking of the RACP for Northeast Manufacturing, which is when that project started,” Gosser said. “We had a party come in and they wanted to build, move as quickly as possible. We had the design of the site work completed and they came in and said, ‘We want to do this so we are going to take this,’ so we went down to the LG site, where we ended up building two new buildings and we took the money we were going to invest in Damascus,” but the deal never came to fruition. “We have a request in to draw down some of that, not the full $2 million, but a good chunk of that and reinvest in the Damascus site.” And then COVID struck, grinding things to a halt with the RACP draw-down, which is now in a holding pattern. Gosser said that while they submitted the request last summer, by late September, he was advised that the application request is just one of a pile of requests awaiting processing.
“As it sits now, we have $1.1 million invested, so we certainly want to move on that,” Gosser said. “We are hoping in 2023 to get moving on the Damascus site.
“As soon as we know that money is here, we will take the next step,” Gosser said. But like so many other things affected by COVID, including the supply chain delays and skilled worker shortage, plus an increase in the costs of goods and services, Gosser said that the money may not stretch as far as it may had just a few years ago. Talking about RACP, Gosser said through a collaboration with Penn-Northwest Development Corp., the Greenville Reynolds Development Authority secured $3.5 million, which will be used primarily for infrastructure in the Reynolds East section of the industrial park, such as water and sewer, road improvements, utilities like electric and gas. He also said that through federal funds and working with officials from Mercer County, Reynolds Disposal is preparing for work “on two major line replacements,” which are anticipated to get under way this spring and should wrap up in the fall.
“We do have a couple large prospects looking at that site,” but the planning, design and work take time and money. “They are slow moving because they are big projects.” He said there are a number of other inquiries around the industrial park, including a company from Canada that would work side-by-side with an existing business; a new start-up from a man who relocated to Mercer County from Pittsburgh. “If I had another 100,000 square foot of building space here, I could probably fill it up,” as he has had inquiries about turn-key buildings, but it is rather cost-prohibitive due to the increased prices. “Even from when we built our two new buildings, which was pretty steep, the costs have probably doubled.”
And through a collaborative with other economic development firms — Penn-Northwest and the Shenango Valley Enter-prise Zone — a fund has been created to help draw technology firms to Mercer County, through the Mercer County Innovation Fund. “There are good things that are happening,” Gosser said.