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Felice: MCIDC poised for big things in 2022

Several redevelopment projects set for future

LEWISTOWN — During Monday’s annual meeting of the membership of the Mifflin County Industrial Development Corporation, President/CEO Nick Felice provided highlights as to the state of the corporation.

He characterized 2021 as positive and stating, “MCIDC is poised for some big things in 2022. We have laid the groundwork for several redevelopment projects in the plaza. The 5C Building demolition is closer to a reality, with the completion of a hazardous material abatement project. MCIDC has also had a preliminary engineering study done looking to determine the best way to situate a new warehouse structure on the site.”

Felice said a local company has shown an interest in the site.

A second site in the plaza, known as Building 34, is also slated for hazardous material abatement.

“Once completed, this structure will be in a position to be razed, opening a 3-acre footprint for new construction,” Felice said. “It is always better to use existing infrastructure and rebuild on impervious surfaces. Costs are reduced by avoiding the construction of new storm water detention facilities. As a non-profit entity, we must use our resources in the most efficient manner.”

If these projects come to fruition, the plaza could see investment of nearly $25 million, Felice said.

“We have taken a hard look at the second floor of Building 58, above the Careerlink Offices,” Felice said. “An engineering and architectural study of effective reuse of the space has been completed. The space has high ceilings, a floor of concrete and an industrial ambiance. The space would need an elevator and two stairwells installed to make it a viable as office space. We could develop it into 5,000 square feet of rentable office. Renovation costs are estimated at $1.5 million. A secure, long-term tenant would be necessary before MCIDC could make that kind of a commitment.”

Written reporting from the meeting detailed continued investments in the MCIDC Plaza buildings and facilities. Concrete floor repairs, roof replacement, partition wall removal and replacement have been or will be completed.

“Planned capital projects for the year have been completed,” Felice said. “Maintenance expenditures remain steady. Older buildings require repairs. Most often these fixes are needed in heavily used areas. MCIDC budgets at least a quarter million dollars yearly for maintenance. Fortunately, we are blessed with strong cash flow and have the resources to effect repairs in a timely fashion.”

On the economic development front, expanding companies continue to look for new sites and opportunities.

“We receive inquiries on a regular basis from out-of-state companies looking for large sites with rail access,” Felice said. “They usually want 80 to 100 acres located next to a rail line, with large electricity and natural gas capacity. Over the years, MCIDC has sold off all but 40 acres at the Mifflin County Industrial Park. At some point in the future, we hope to acquire additional acreage and truly compete for these larger projects.”

Workforce development was also mentioned. Felice spoke to MCIDC’s support of the Juniata Valley Chamber of Commerce’s Business and Education Committee.

“Our organization has provided funds to help the group’s activities which are dedicated to exposing middle and high school students to technology based and hands on career paths,” Felice said. “Our economy needs individuals who can critically think and do, in a physical sense. Carpenters, plumbers, electricians, machinists and mechanics are all needed throughout the economy. The committee wants to ensure students get the full picture on what opportunities are out there and how they can access the training to enter these fields.

“This committee is our local ‘farm system’ in a manner similar to minor league baseball. We’re developing players for current and future positions. While robotics is working its way into more manufacturing processes, there will be the need to maintain these machines. Besides, I don’t think a robot plumber is coming to anyone’s house, any time soon.”

MCIDC is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to promote growth of employment and income in Mifflin County.

For more information go to www.mcidc.org.

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