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LAWRENCE COUNTY Wetlands testing done at park site



Published: Sat, April 16, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



Officials are still hoping to lure lots of jobs to the proposed high-tech park.

By VIRGINIA ROSS

VINDICATOR CORRESPONDENT

NEW CASTLE, Pa. -- Testing to identify wetlands at the long-awaited Millennium Park site has been completed, and Lawrence County is looking to submit development plans for the property to the state within the next several weeks.

Linda Nitch, executive director of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corp., said the county is waiting on a report and a detailed map from the Pittsburgh Office of the Army Corps of Engineers, which conducted the testing.

Once that work is completed, plans can be made for the development of certain areas of the 500-acre site in Neshannock Township that are identified as uplands, or areas that can be developed.

Industrial park site

The county wants to establish a high-tech industrial park at the site, and officials have said they can foresee bringing some 1,000 jobs to the area with the completion of the project.

"We're looking at getting started right away," Nitch said. "Once we have the report and the map, which will be very detailed as to what areas are wetlands and what areas are uplands, we can finalize and submit our development proposal to the state for its approval."

Nitch explained that permits from the state Department of Environmental Protection, as well as the Lawrence County Conservation District, must be obtained before proceeding.

She said once the state approves the development proposal, the county would be able to look into securing funding for the project. She added she is hopeful the money will be available when it is needed.

Early on, the state approved $15 million for the proposed high-tech industrial park. However, much of that funding was cut.

"It's a step-by-step process," Nitch said. "And this was a big step that needed to be taken. We're looking forward to moving ahead as soon as we can."




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