Way back in 2009, the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation (LCEDC) took a leap of faith and became the intrepid owner of a seven-acre manufacturing complex in the City of New Castle. For more than a century, the vacant property had once been the home of a long line of refractory businesses, each leaving their mark on Lawrence County’s illustrious industrial past.
Without sufficient funding to redevelop the site at the time, the LCEDC watched as the property’s seven buildings quickly fell into ruin as the result of damage by fire, water and vandalism. It didn’t take long for it to become a major eyesore in the heart of New Castle’s industrial corridor.
Despite its appearance, however, the site had a lot to offer! It had a viable rail spur connecting potential new users to two Class A carriers, CSX and Norfolk Southern. In addition, all public utilities served the property including access to 138,000 kV of power. With this in mind, the LCEDC successfully requested grant funding in the amount of $1,000,000 from the Commonwealth’s PA First program matched by more than $250,000 in private funds.
The LCEDC then set out to find a company that would be interested in helping us bring this former refractory site back to life. After a year of searching, the owner of a local trucking company, Mark McClymonds, stepped up to the plate and purchased the site in June of this year.
Mr. McClymonds’ project involves the development of a permanent trans-load station offering rail-to-truck service for dry bulk goods. Products would include fractionation sand for the shale gas industry, limestone and other materials that would then be placed into specialized tractor trailers or dump trucks for transport. McClymonds will also be erecting a 30,000 s.f. building, installing hopper and conveyor systems, installing new rail siding, switches and track and purchasing new front loaders and trucks. As part of this project, the LCEDC is utilizing the $1 million PA First grant to prepare the site including removal of asbestos, demolition of the buildings and relocation of the utilities. The total budget is estimated to be $6,930,000 and will result in 40 full-time jobs.
Without the infusion of public dollars from the Commonwealth of PA, it would be difficult to imagine that the LCEDC would have ever been successful in resuscitating this once viable property back to productive use!