Grant sought for Butler County industrial park

In July, commissioners from Clarion, Venango and Butler counties met to discuss the problems at a Butler County industrial park.

Five months later, a solution may be in the works.

Clarion County Commissioner Wayne Brosius said Tuesday he has been in contact with Butler County Commissioner Kim Geyer and that Geyer said the Butler County Community and Economic Development Corp. is applying for a $3 to $4 million water and sewer grant.

Brosius said the grant is due Dec. 13, and the economic corporation should know if it is successful in the spring.

The Allegheny Valley Industrial Park in Allegheny Township, Butler County, was the subject of the July meeting in Emlenton that involved the county commissioners as well as township officials, state Sen. Scott Hutchinson and representatives for Congressman Glenn Thompson and other officials.

The private industrial park, owned by AC Valley Development Corp. of Foxburg, is facing current debt of $250,000 and doesn’t have the resources to pay that debt.

The industrial park’s businesses employ about 600 people who live in Venango, Clarion, Mercer, Butler and Armstrong counties. The companies in the park generate a combined annual payroll of about a $30 million.

The companies located in the park are TCC Pennwest, Mid Atlantic Youth Services, UEP Parker, Allegheny Structural Components, Gardenscape, GES Graphite, McNany Trucking and Mildred Marerella.

The immediate problem is that the owner of the property owes $250,000 in unpaid bills.

At the July meeting, Joe Saelor, executive director of the Butler County Community and Economic Development Corp., said, “Financially AC Valley is out of money. There is no way currently to correct the situation.”

He said the owner has no income at this time beyond fees from water and sewer service. The owner is also behind on taxes on the now empty Allegheny Valley Medical Building in Foxburg.

The building was vacated when the Clarion Hospital consolidated the AC Valley and Rimersburg facilities in May.

The sewer plant serving the park is an even larger problem and is operating under a consent order from the Department of Environmental Protection.

Saelor said the current operating plant is 25 years old and needs to be upgraded to meet new state standards. The park owner owns the plant privately.