Carbon County wants to have businesses lined up for when the Packerton Industrial Park is ready for operations.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, the board voted to approve an agreement between the county and NAI Summit of Allentown, relative to selling all or a portion of Packerton Industrial Park for industrial development purposes only. The term of the agreement shall be for one year.

Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said the county is hiring NAI Summit to market and sell some of the plots at the park.

"They have the ability to market the property nationwide," he said. "This will hopefully bring jobs into Carbon County."

He noted that a former Summit Hill resident, John Crampsie, is the NAI business manager, and is very knowledgeable in this field.

NAI Summit is a full-service commercial/industrial real estate firm that serves Eastern Pennsylvania.

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.

Much controversy circulated around the site in 2006, following the awarding of a contract to Flynn Demolition of Pottsville, to demolish the sole building that stood on the property.

Lancaster County business owners April Koppenhaver and Bruce Clark, as well as Nesquehoning native Thomas Zimmerman IV, filed multiple injunction requests against the county in hopes of stopping the demolition and the industrialization. Their attempts failed.

The building was torn down and the commissioners were given the green light to move forward with the industrialization of the site.

On Sept. 16, 2008, the proposed business park received preliminary plan approval from the Carbon County Planning Commission.

In February, the county received $631,958 from Mount Airy Resort and Casino's gaming fund revenues to go toward making improvements to Rt. 209 and to build an access road to the Norfolk Southern and Reading and Northern rail lines, which travel through Packerton Yards and across an entrance.

In April, the county entered into an agreement with Norfolk Southern Railway Company for preliminary engineering services for railroad crossing improvements on the Packerton Yards entrance crossing, located in the Packerton Dip along Rt. 209.

In June, the county's request to extend the KOZ status at Packerton Yards was rejected by Lehighton and Mahoning Township. The current KOZ status is scheduled to expire in 2010.

In October, the county met with Sen. Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) to ask for his support of a $1 million federal grant. Specter said he is in support of the project.

To date, the county has secured over $3 million for the project.

Currently, the industrialization of the property is expected to be completed by 2015.