March 16, 2011
Drilling industries to bring hundreds of jobs to mended Montgomery site
MONTGOMERY – For the first time in nearly 30 years, business will bustle in Montgomery’s Old Mill corridor, where more than 200 new jobs are coming.
Jeffrey J. Stroehmann, vice president of operations for Moran Industries, said two Canadian-based companies are opening natural gas support services just south of Route 405 in the borough.
He said each of the companies, Peak Energy Services and Newalta, are expected to bring in excess of 100 family-sustaining jobs here.
“They’ll be in the average range of drilling industry wages, which are substantially better than area baseline wages,” Stroehmann said.
The project takes away an eyesore and breathes fresh life into the community, according to Jason Fink, Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce executive vice president.
“It’s a great re-use for that block,” he said. “It’s a situation where you have a community that’s identified and addressed a long-standing issue for them, a building in disrepair.”
Borough Mayor Andrew Onufrak II said cooperations among business and government leaders on all levels are bringing positive development to a community on the rise.
“It’s bringing positive development to us and we’re winning,” Onufrak said.
Compared to areas of unrest in other parts of the world, Onufrak said the local area is doing particularly well.
“We’re the fortunate ones,” he said. “We know where our future is and where it’s going.”
Services provided by the two companies are similarly broad in scope to their industry, according to Stroehmann.
“Peak is a well field support company. They provide everything short of a drilling rig itself,” he said. “Newalta does primarily the same things as Peak.”
As negotiations continue, it’s likely a third company will be arriving, which he said should fill the remainder of the lot of nearly 20 acres.
In January, what was known as The Old Mill complex was demolished, clearing the way for the new development.
Destroying a building which sat unoccupied and devoid of production for decades left behind a basement Stroehmann said will be filled with earth this spring.
Business activity should begin for Peak around the time its building is constructed, which Stroehmann said is ongoing and should be completed in 30 to 45 days.
Construction should start next week for the Newalta building, which he said should have its building completed and business production begin about a month after Peak opens its doors.
The former Old Mill office building on Main Street is expected to remain standing, allowing Moran to donate it to the borough.
The borough expects to donate the former office building to its local historical society.
The former Old Mill office is expected to be dedicated to former developer John D. “Jack” and Maureen Moran Sr., who brought a variety of manufacturing business to the lot in the early 1980s, before a less-than-ideal businesss climate closed down activity.
Onufrak said the local historical society operates out of a single downtown office, and the new development will give it an opportunity to expand when the paperwork is finalized.
“They offered the building to us,” he said. “I would like to see the historical society use it as a museum and a historical library reference center.”
Moran also is dedicating land to the borough, allowing a public access road to be built to the new businesses.
Fink credited the Moran family, including present-day developer John Moran Jr., for stepping forward and making the project a success.
“You’re going to have a direct impact to Montgomery,” Fink said.
He expects tax base revitalization from working families looking for housing, especially in the eastern end of the county.
Fink said retail businesses and restaurants will see a bump in sales, and gas stations and convenience stores will have more customers when workers are driving back and forth for work.