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Avtex site cleanup months from complete

By Alex Bridges -- abridges@nvdaily.com

FRONT ROYAL -- Cleanup of the Avtex superfund site could come as early as the end of this year, Warren County officials heard Tuesday.

The Warren County-Front Royal Economic Development Authority continues to work with FMC as well as the town and county regarding the restrictions, Jennifer McDonald, executive director of the EDA, told the Board of Supervisors. McDonald said the EDA is hoping the Environmental Protection Agency sticks to a timeline and will issue a notice of no further interest in the Avtex site, thus releasing the property to the authority.

"Fingers are crossed but I'm not sure that's gonna happen," McDonald said. "But we are working with them, working with the county, the town, FMC and Honeywell on the restrictions so hopefully we can have all that done by the time the EPA releases the property."

FMC, the company contracted to clean the Avtex superfund site, must submit reports to the EPA, according to McDonald. The EPA, upon review and acceptance of the reports, should issue a letter of no further interest to the EDA pertaining to the space eyed for the 160 acres eyed for an industrial park. Once the EDA receives the letter, the authority can begin marketing the site for industrial purposes, McDonald said by phone later on Tuesday. More work needs to be done to complete the conservancy area covering approximately 240 acres, according to McDonald. No development can take place on the conservancy site.

The EDA is in the middle of seeking to remove some restrictive covenances on the Avtex property, McDonald explained to supervisors. Several groups are working with the EDA on the effort.

Supervisor Tony Carter gave kudos to McDonald and the EDA for their efforts in both localities. McDonald replied that the EDA wants businesses to locate in either place.

The EDA continues its work to attract large and small businesses to the town and county. McDonald told supervisors the EDA is working with three companies in an effort to bring them to the U.S. 340-522 corridor and an additional 300 employees. According to McDonald the EDA is courting:
• PJ-Blue, a heavy equipment manufacturer, to possibly invest $60 million and build a 200,000-square-foot building on 50 acres, bringing 200-300 employees
• Project Roundtable, a maker of electric transmission power poles, to invest $11 million, bring 85 employees and build a 150,000-square-foot building on a 65-acre site
• Project Osprey, a dried-fruit product manufacturer, to invest $12 million, bring 35-50 employees and build a 50,000-60,000-square-foot building on 12 acres

McDonald also reported that the EDA:
• Identified seven sites within Front Royal limits for a hotel developer looking to build in town
• Is working with a developer interested in buying one of the shopping centers to renovate and modernize
• Is helping a bakery find a space on Main Street, work on its business plan and financing
• Showed the Second Chance store to a national retail chain
• Is looking for 1,000 square feet of retail space on Main Street for a framing company and have identified two potential locations
• Showed the Royal Plaza and Gateway Plaza shopping centers to retail companies met at a conference in May
• Is working with two restaurants and an auto-detailing company looking at possibly locating on Chester Street.


Groovy, Now if these new company's will come in and employ people from the front royal region, that would be great! If they employ people from elsewhere, who is benefiting? Hmmm?

"...an auto-detailing company looking at possibly locating on Chester Street."

Terrible idea. Chester Street is one of the most glorious historic streets in Town. Auto-detailing is merely a politically-correct way of saying unlicensed truck repair shop.

Better to put such automotive activities where they will do no harm and not create a nuisance. Place for highest and best use would be on the contaminated part of the Avtex site. That way, spills and pollution from the "detailing" operation will not create new contaminants, just mix and mingle with the old stuff already in the ground. The folks who love to work on their vehicles will not be bothered. Everyone will be happy. Pursuit of Happiness is a right expounded in the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson would be proud.

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