Ross: Antrim Township development ‘remarkable’
“It is remarkable what has taken place in this township over the last five to seven years,” he said. “There’s probably been well over $500 million invested in Antrim Township.
“In my opinion, there is not a more developable interchange on the 232.6 miles of (Interstate 81) in Pennsylvania than exit 3. There’s a lot taking place in Antrim Township and tremendous potential.”
The remarks by Ross about the pace of development need no more evidence than that explosion of projects off U.S. 11 at exit 3.
In addition to warehouse developments by NorthPoint, Ross pointed to the Greencastle Health Center nearing completion and the A. Duie Pyle-truck terminal project underway.
In the area surrounding exits 1,3 and 5 of I-81 in the Greencastle-Antrim area, Ross also touted prime future potential.
“You have over 1,000 acres in Antrim Township that are developable in that corridor,” he said. “But there are challenges. We have infrastructure challenges, primarily in transportation, that need to be addressed to realize that development potential.”
Ross said while studies are underway on I-81, specially looking for solutions to the failed exit 5 exchange, and a U.S. 11 corridor study is complete, action tends to be slow when dealing with transportation.
He also noted needs at the exit 3 interchange.
In addition to public-infrastructure needs, Ross said the top challenge for Franklin County is providing a skilled and technical workforce.
The current unemployment rate of 3.2% means there are 2,500 jobless people here, Ross said. That leaves a narrow margin when there are 2,368 online job postings by Franklin County businesses.
Another challenge is a lack of existing and available industrial buildings for small to midsized projects, Ross said.
“Our challenge, very candidly, is not whether we can create economic development,” he said. “We know that we can do that. Our location allows us to do that.
“Our challenge is, can we manage the growth in a way that elevates the life of everybody in this room and everybody in Franklin County? That’s the ultimate goal — an increase in the standard of living for everybody.”