Franklin Co. office expansion could cost $67.8M


CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. — Franklin County, Pa., government unveiled plans Wednesday for a $67.8 million overhaul of its court and administrative offices.

The plan calls for a new structure in the first block of North Main Street to be paired with the historic courthouse for most judicial functions.

The structure currently known as “the annex” facing Lincoln Way East would house support functions such as juvenile probation.

The initial proposal also would involve renovating the “administrative annex” structure on North Second Street for public meeting spaces, the commissioners’ offices, voter registration, the treasurer and similar offices. An archives building would be constructed on that site.

“The safety, security and inefficiency of our courthouse and related offices is a very real problem,” said David Keller, chairman of the Franklin County Commissioners. “The information that was presented to us (Wednesday) is certainly a comprehensive and well-thought-out solution to the problem, and is definitely worthy of our consideration.”

John Hart, a former county administrator, is serving as project manager for the judicial center.

Hart said the last major courthouse renovation was done in 1979, when the county had two judges and four people in its district attorney’s office.

The county now has five Court of Common Pleas judges and 26 employees in the district attorney’s office.

“Since 1979, we’ve had a 30 percent increase in population,” Hart said.

The county added 4,000 square feet to its judicial facilities in 2010 and 2011 based on a needs study done in 2009.

Court of Common Pleas President Judge Carol Van Horn said the study determined that the county needed 40,000 square feet, but got 4,000 square feet in the most recent renovation.

She echoed a plea for better security, based, in part, on Franklin County Jail Warden Bill Bechtold’s estimate that 30 people currently are incarcerated for homicide.

The new proposal from Noelker and Hull Associates and Silling Architects would create an additional 166,000 square feet. It would create what are called “circulation systems” to keep the public, staff members and defendants isolated from each other.

A bond consultant said the county’s existing debt should be paid off in 2024.

“This allows this new borrowing to come in at a low millage impact,” John Frey said, referencing the way Pennsylvania’s property taxes are based on mills.

Frey estimated a new 1.5 mills of taxes would be needed since each mill generates $1.5 million annually for the county.

For a taxpayer, one mill represents $1 for every $1,000 assessed property value.

Huge poultry farm should begin construction in March

Jim Hook, Published 1:26 p.m. ET Dec. 8, 2017 Updated 4:06 p.m. ET Dec. 8, 2017

MERCERSBURG – Herbruck’s Poultry Ranch is shipping eggs from a warehouse in the Cumberland Valley Business Park until its planned egg farm is fully operational in Montgomery Township.

The company had planned to have chickens laying eggs by this time, according to L. Michael Ross, president of the Franklin County Area Development Corporation.

“It’s taking longer than anticipated,” Ross said. “They remain fully committed to the Montgomery Township operation. I would expect Phase I to be completed in 2018.”

largest animal farms in Franklin County at 8069 Corner Road. The company is to settle on the property “in the very near future” with construction starting in March, according to Ross. Phase I would include a couple of hen houses. It will be several years before all eight houses are built.

At full operation, the poultry farm will house about 2.4 million hens laying a billion eggs a year. About 190 people are expected to work for the farm.

About 40 trucks a day will haul eggs and wastewater from the farm, according to company officials. Herbruck’s has been trying to come up with a route that can handle 102-inch-wide tractor-trailers. Herbruck’s is expecting final approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation “any day now,” Ross said.

Local municipalities are weighing in. Mercersburg Borough Council meets at 7 p.m. Monday to consider Herbruck’s latest truck route proposal.

Interim Borough Manager Derek Stoy said, “It takes them a mile or two out of their way to come back safely” to Main Street.

Trucks coming from the egg farm would cross Main Street at the Park/Oregon street traffic signal, according to Stoy. They would continue to Landis Drive and make a left. At Mercersburg Road (Loudon Road), they could turn right to go to Chambersburg or turn left to go to Greencastle by way of a traffic signal at Main Street.

Herbruck’s has an agreement with the borough that the company will be responsible for street improvements, including improving the turning radius at Oregon Street and Landis Drive, according to Stoy.

“Right now Landis Drive is in very bad condition and can’t handle significant traffic,” Stoy said.

More: Herbruck’s egg farm needs truck route approval

A traffic signal is not planned at Landis Drive and Mercersburg Road because the intersection does not meet PennDOT warrants, even with the additional truck traffic, according to Stoy. Part of the intersection is in Peters Township.

Earlier this year Herbruck’s received land development approval from Montgomery Township and a state permit for a concentrated animal feeding operation.

“They could have started in early fall,” Ross said. “They wanted to be sure everything was approved. They are methodically working their way through the appeal process successfully. Some folks have pushed back on the project.”

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Meanwhile, Herbruck’s has purchased a former factory at 5785 Sunset Pike in Greene Township from FCADC for $1 million. The company installed refrigeration and began receiving and shipping eggs in mid-October, according to Ross.

“They had a sense of urgency to get this up and operating quickly,” Ross said. “In order to meet deliveries and customer demand they needed a place they could control.”

Based in Michigan, Herbruck’s is one of the largest providers of eggs to McDonald’s restaurants east of the Mississippi River.

About 10 people work at the warehouse, Ross said.

The warehouse previously had been home to Vetter Forks Inc., which in July moved to a larger building in the Cumberland Valley Business Park.

Herbruck’s should continue to use the warehouse until the farm in Montgomery Township is going full tilt, according to Ross.

“They will acclimate in the community over time and it will f give the community time to adjust to them,” Ross said. “When they are fully operational, it will be as if they have been part of the community for a long time.”

Jim Hook, 717-262-4759

Antrim warehouse development on fast track


Nov 16, 2017 Updated 10 hrs ago

Pa. — The site might look like the beginnings of a runway right now, but an unnamed e-commerce user is expected to start moving into a huge NorthPoint Development warehouse off U.S. 11 at Exit 3 by late winter with a potential of hundreds of jobs.

Construction of the 1.1 million-square-foot warehouse is on a fast track, according to Eric Watts, project manager for Kansas City, Mo.-based NorthPoint Development.

“The proposed tenant that we are currently negotiating with is looking to move racking in starting in February, should we get that far,” Watts said. “They want 950,000 square feet. Our goal is to get them in all of it eventually.

“We are pouring slabs currently and projecting completion in April, roughly.”

The warehouse is the latest in Antrim Township’s hub of industrial and commercial development in that area.

Eldorado Stone opened earlier this year, joining the Armada building on the north side of Antrim Commons Business Park. Blaise Alexander is well on its way to completion along U.S. 11. Summit Health has also proposed the Greencastle Medical Office Building on the site.

Watts called NorthPoint’s presumptive tenant a large, industrial, big box, e-commerce user. He did not have an employment estimate, but said, “They had a mandate for 400 parking spaces, and you would then take into account shift change.”

With the pace of its first project in the park headed for the finish line, Watts said NorthPoint is seeking approval for its next building south of the first one, planned at 1.15-million square feet.

“We have the option and we will exercise it, assuming we execute this lease on this first building on the prospective tenant we’re working with,” Watts said.

NorthPoint also has an option on another piece of property in the park, where it would potentially put two separate buildings.

“We have roughly 5.5 billion feet across Pennsylvania currently,” said Watts, who oversees the seven NorthPoint developments in the state. “Generally these big warehouses take anywhere from five to nine months to construct. We’ve been very successful so far. We’ve leased the majority of them before they’ve even been completed. And we’re hoping to accomplish the same thing here.

“We’ve had success all throughout Pennsylvania along the I-81 corridor. It’s a very, very hot industrial market, so we saw a great opportunity down here. It’s kind of an underserved area once you get down south of Chambersburg and north of Hagerstown. We just saw a great opportunity.”

Franklin County businesses honored at appreciation dinner


by: Jennifer Fitch, Herald Mail

SHADY GROVE, Pa. — The Franklin County (Pa.) Area Development Corp. recognized Johnnies Inc., Ulta Beauty’s distribution center and James S. Junkin with awards Thursday night.

The development corporation hosted its 31st annual industry-appreciation dinner in front of a capacity crowd at Green Grove Gardens.

With 40 employees and multiple locations, family-owned Johnnies Inc. was named the organization’s Small Business of the Year.

The business supplies restaurants with bulk supplies, and has a pair of cash-and-carry sites for walk-in customers.

Its support of civic and nonprofit organizations includes the Franklin County Career and Technology Center, Rotary Club of Chambersburg (Pa.) and Occupational Services Inc. The average tenure of its employees is 24 years.

God “continues to shower our community with blessings beyond belief,” representative Rod Hocker said.

The Ulta Beauty distribution center in Chambersburg is the 2017 Large Business of the Year.

Six hundred employees there support Ulta Beauty’s 1,000 retail stores, each of which sells cosmetics, hair-care products and fragrances.

The distribution center ships 100 million units per year to retail stores.

Bill Boltz, the distribution center’s director, recognized the center’s team members, in part for their charitable giving and service to the community.

The development corporation selected James S. “Jim” Junkin, of Willow Hill, Pa., as the 25th recipient of its Zane A. Miller Award. which recognizes contributions in business, civic commitment and volunteerism.

Junkin has been active in family farming since 1997. The nomination recognized his crop- and livestock-management techniques, as well as his advocacy for continuing education.

Junkin has served as board president for the Fannett-Metal School District, president of the Franklin County Farm Bureau and vice president of the development corporation. He also is involved with the Metal Volunteer Fire Co. and Franklin Learning Center.

“This man gives incredibly of his time and talents,” said L. Michael Ross, president of the development corporation.

Junkin said he tries to surround himself with good people.

“Truly, I’m extremely humbled and honored with this award,” he said.

Chambersburg welcomes new welding training center

By John Irwin

Posted Aug 24, 2017 at 4:15 PM

Franklin County is now home to the world’s first global welding and training center and certification school, sending trained professionals all over the globe.

The Franklin County Area Development Corporation and Phenomenal Industries Inc. hosted a ribbon cutting for the Welding Training Center on Thursday morning in Greene Township.

“We are very excited to be here, it’s been a very long journey,” said Stefan Takac president of Phenomenal Industries, which started in 1985 in Czechoslovakia. “When we were making the decision where to locate the facility, we had proposals from many other states, but we picked this location because we have many friends here and it’s in the center of an industrial hub,” said Takac. “I really think that our facility on the east coast is in a phenomenal location.”

The new 10,500-square-foot state-of-the-art facility features a 40-seat classroom for lectures and instructor-driven learning as well as 20 welding booths that will provide hands-on learning for the students as well as the tools and environment for craftsman to succeed.

Since its inception, the Slovakian-based corporation has been dedicated to consistently providing custom welding training programs, qualification testing and providing skilled laborers worldwide.

Since the groundbreaking in July 2016, the facility on Opportunity Avenue in the Cumberland Valley business park has grown to be a “phenomenal building,” according to L. Michael Ross, president of the FCADC.

“We have an economy here in Franklin County that is growing, and we are fortunate that we still make things in our part of the world,” Ross said. “We have companies here in Franklin County such as Volvo Equipment, Manitowoc Crane Group, JLG, Olympic Steel, Bri-Mar Manufacturing, CAM Superline and Johnson Controls. There is a conglomerate of manufacturing facilities here in Franklin County and the area and the one need that is consistent among all of them is that they are all looking for welders.”

According to Ross, the project had its “genesis” about three years ago when a group from Manitowoc came to him and asked that the FCADC think about developing a welding training center.

“The short story is, we are here today addressing that need and we are very excited about the success of this operation,” Ross added.

Contact John Irwin at or at 717-762-2151.