“It is our job to set the table for businesses to be able to make the investments necessary to provide jobs to people in communities just like this one,” Governor Wolf said. “This investment will help to rebuild distressed brownfield and former military facility and turn it into a hub for jobs in a number of different industries.”
The Redevelopment Capital Assistance Program (RACP) funds will help the Berks County Industrial Development Authority (BCIDA) support the $7 million cost of infrastructure improvements still awaiting completion at the site along Aviation Road, approximately one mile from the City of Reading. The total project cost is $13.3 million.
“In today’s highly competitive economy, businesses are looking for shovel-ready sites when evaluating where to locate. This project provides Berks County with a much needed ready-to-go location, which will be very attractive businesses and will result in more jobs coming to our area,” Sen. Schwank said. “I commend Governor Wolf for recognizing the potential and importance of this project for our local and regional economies and investing state dollars to make it a reality. I was pleased to join with Representative Jozwiak in strongly advocating for approval of RCAP funds for this important economic development initiative.”
“This project is a great example of a success story which recognized the critical and immediate need for strategic planning of a shovel ready, sustainable project,” Rep. Jozwiak said. “The RACP funding for this infrastructure improvement project at the Reading Airport will not only positively impact Bern Township, but Berks County as a whole with over 500 full time permanent jobs, real estate tax revenues and helping to boost our local economy.”
Plans submitted to Bern Township show the development of 807,700 square feet at the project site, which will consist of seven buildings. BCIDA executive director Tom McKeon said the goal is to have the buildings occupied primarily by small manufacturers, but that end users engaged in assembly, warehousing, services, and research and development might also be attracted to the site. The overall economic impact from the project is estimated at over $35 million.
“The governor, Senator Schwank, and Representative Jozwiak have today put this project into overdrive,” McKeon said. “They’ve given us the missing piece we’ve needed to turn an unproductive brownfield site into a place that will create significant jobs and tax base for our community and the commonwealth.”
In addition to the 500 to 600 new jobs, the BCIDA estimates 220 indirect jobs will be created by support/supplier industries attracted to the project, plus 750 non-permanent direct jobs during construction.
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