County officials break ground on Sewickley Township industrial park
In his teenage years, Jason Rigone used to drive past an empty field along Waltz Mill Road on his way to high school, and always thought the land had potential.
On Friday morning, Rigone, now the executive director for the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation, helped realize that potential at a groundbreaking for the future Commerce Crossing at Westmoreland industrial park in Sewickley Township, more than 200 acres where five pad-ready sites will have easy access to Interstate 70 and a new rail spur to connect with the region’s international rail network.
The property, and the area surrounding it, is well positioned to breathe new life into the local economy, with PennDOT’s I-70 improvements progressing forward and the recent extension of public sewer to the corridor.
“None of this could’ve happened without that (sewage) extension,” Rigone said, adding that it could be extended to Yukon in the future, should residents choose to tie in.
County commissioner Charles Anderson said extending sewage service is a crucial component.
“Once you put that infrastructure in, that’s when things can really start to explode,” he said.
Cooperation was a major theme at Friday’s groundbreaking: IDC officials worked with the Sewickley Township sewage authority to extend public sewer, and PennDOT modified its I-70 plans to accommodate the future Commerce Crossing project.
“This is a huge example of teamwork,” said county commissioner Gina Cerilli.
Commerce Crossing will be the first industrial-park project county officials have undertaken in the past decade. Click here for a video tour of what project partners envision as the site’s future look.
“We have 10,000 people who call an industrial-park business their employer,” county commissioner Ted Kopas said. “These things play a big role (in the local economy).”
The project has already generated interest: Rigone said companies have already submitted letters of intent for two of the site’s five proposed lots, which will range in size from 18 to 29 acres.
“That shows you the type of opportunity available at this property,” he said, adding he expects to be hosting the first ribbon-cutting around this time next year.
Originally proposed in 2012, Commerce Crossing has benefited from about $7 million in state grants as well as a $5.8 million loan from the state’s “Business In Our Sites” program.