Derry's Porcelain Park awaits face-lift
Touting the 19.3-acre industrial “pad-ready” property as a “prime location,” a flier shows an aerial photo of Porcelain Park in Derry superimposed with three possible subdivided sites and the path of the railroad line in the center.
The glossy mailer is a part of the marketing phase of rehabilitating the former brownfield on Third Street by Westmoreland County and local officials.
“We are moving as quickly as we can to get the site back into productive use to benefit the community,” said Jason Rigone, executive director of the Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corp. “There's been some initial interest in it, but nothing's been concrete.”
The area, nicknamed because of a long line of China and porcelain producers at the site, sat vacant with piles of rubble and half-standing structures for years.
Now officials have finished clearing materials from the site with the help of Gray Waste Management of North Braddock.
As a part of the $515,426 contract awarded in November, the contractor is continuing to upgrade utilities at the site, said project manager Halle Chatfield of the Redevelopment Authority of Westmoreland County.
Installations may not be complete until plans are finalized for the estimated $15 million replacement of the Route 217 bridge, which PennDOT plans to begin with the awarding of construction contracts in late 2014.
So far, design plans include improved access from the 800-foot bridge to Porcelain Park, which it crosses above on the eastern end of the property.
Despite a few winter weather delays, the Porcelain Park project is mostly on schedule with site grading and fence installation completed, Chatfield said.
The contractor is working with officials to comply with Department of Environmental Protection requirements, including the Brownfield Redevelopment Land Recycling Program, known as Act Two, Chatfield said.
The state program encourages the cleanup and reuse of contaminated commercial and industrial sites in exchange for the easing of liability relief for the property, according to the department's website.
Derry borough council President Christine Melville said she was reviewing the results of soil samples taken by the DEP as a part of the land recycling program.
She said she has not received any complaints from neighbors, who are just glad to see the debris removed and progress made.
“The property looks great,” Melville said. “The county has been doing a great job marketing the property.”
Everyone involved is just waiting for enthusiastic businesses to move in to create jobs and economic growth.
“Now it's at the point of getting somebody to reinvest in the community,” Chatfield said.
Stacey Federoff is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-836-6660 or firstname.lastname@example.org.