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German firm needs more information

Published April 01. 2011 05:00PM

Carbon County is still waiting to hear if it will be selected as one of the visit locations for a German-based automotive manufacturing company that wants to expand into the United States.

During the county commissioners' meeting on Thursday, Commissioner William O'Gurek, chairman, said that Quaprotek, which manufactures engine and gear parts for the automotive industry, is asking for additional information about the county.

He noted that Brian Ross of the Governor's Action Team felt this was a good sign.

"We think we're still in the running," O'Gurek said, noting that no final decisions on which of the eight states vying for the company have been chosen to visit has been announced. "Our goal is to get them here to see the place."

He added that Dawn Ferrante, executive director of the Carbon County Economic Development Corporation, is currently in the process of getting the additional information to the company.

The opportunity for Carbon County to make the presentation to Quaprotek came in March when Ferrante received a request for proposal from the Pennsylvania Governor's Action Team. The RFP notified all counties that the company was interested in finding a suitable location to create a facility to manufacture its products in the country. Specs included a 50,000-square-foot building with room to expand. The building at Green Acres, which currently houses Liquid Fence, is 40,000 square feet and has additional acreage available for expansion.

Carbon County as well as two other counties in Pennsylvania, submitted proposals to the German American Chamber. After addition information was released, the two other counties withdrew their proposals. Carbon's proposal touched on many areas that highlight the positives that the county has to offer, including personal messages from county officials and state lawmakers; demographics of the county; and potential incentives, such as tax breaks, grants, and deferred lease payments for moving to the area.

Last week, Ferrante and Ross traveled to Georgia to make a formal presentation to the company in the hopes of attracting its business and investment to the area. Quaprotek expects to invest $22 million over the next six years and create around 120 jobs at the location that it chooses to expand into.

In other matters, the commissioners voted to approve a request from Carbon Engineering, which asks for a nine month extension to complete phase I of the preliminary design for Bridge 16, Koch Road, in Towamensing Township. The new Phase I completion date is Jan. 10, 2012.

The extension is due to extensive review process, the hydrologic and hydraulic report, and other issues that were encountered.

The county has been working to replace the single-lane bridge for two years.

In 2008, Judy Borger, director of the Carbon County Planning and Development, testified to the Northeastern Pennsylvania Rural Transportation Planning Organization on the integrity of the bridge and raised some concerns, including the narrow width, deteriorating arches, and worn decks.

In 2009, the county approved an engineering agreement, developed by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), for services associated with the replacement of Bridge 16.

On Feb. 3, a public hearing was held to discuss the design concept, answer questions, and accept input about the project.

Most of the project's cost, which has not been determined, will hopefully be covered through federal and state monies. Any money that is not secured through the government will be covered through local liquid fuels funds.

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