Carbon County is moving forward with the industrialization of the former Packerton Yards site.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board approved a supplemental agreement to an original engineering agreement between the county and Carbon Engineering Inc. for additional services relative to various access options and routes in conjunction with the Packerton Business Park, located between Lehighton and Mahoning Township. The total cost for the additional services is $345,000.

Prior to the vote, Commissioner Wayne Nothstein asked what funds will be used to pay for the services.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said that the funds will come from allocation allowances in grants that the county has secured for the remediation project.

O'Gurek also noted that Carbon Engineering previously had a contract with the county to complete three areas of work the topographical survey of the property, the conceptual planning, and the engineering of access roads and subdivision plans.

Thursday's action, O'Gurek added, now allows the company and county to work on other necessary items including working on easements, completing a storm water management plan, relocating PPL poles, redesigning a highway reconstruction project along Route 209 for a new entrance onto the property, and moving the existing railroad crossing slightly.

"Now as we move forward with what we have as a final plan, there is a lot of work that needs to be done," he said. "We're getting there."

The county also needs to submit an Act II liability final plan to the Department of Environmental Protection. Previously, officials hired an outside company to complete an environmental study that identifies the contaminates on the 59-acre property.

O'Gurek noted that the county is expecting to secure the necessary permits and permission from the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission for the railroad crossing in the very near future.

Once permits are secured and plans are filed, the county can move forward with the project.

O'Gurek said that they hope to start work at the property by fall.

The industrialization of Packerton Yards has been in the works since 2002, when Commissioner Charles Getz and O'Gurek included the project as part of their campaign.

On Feb. 25, 2005, the county purchased the site from Joseph and Betty Zaprazny at a cost of $350,000.

Since then, the board has worked with state officials, such as state Speaker of the House Keith McCall (D-Carbon), and federal officials to secure millions of dollars in funding to use for developing the site.