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North Huntingdon assistant manager directed to encourage business growth

Friday, June 14, 2013, 3:16 a.m.
 

North Huntingdon officials say they are tired of waiting for new businesses to come into the township. So they plan to take matters into their own hands.

Township commissioners named assistant manager Mike Turley as the director of North Huntingdon's development initiative. He will be responsible for helping to encourage businesses ranging from high-end office and research jobs to light manufacturing to move to the township, manager John Shepherd said.

“His goal will be to attract the types of businesses the board (of commissioners) would like to see in the township,” Shepherd said. “We've already seen retail and some fast food restaurants come without doing anything, but now we're looking for different businesses to offer higher-level jobs.

“Those types of jobs are good for our residents, and they're good for expanding and diversifying our tax base.”

Turley plans to work with an informal committee comprised of members of the board of commissioners, planning commission and township residents. They will discuss ways to bring in more commercial development.

The initiative stemmed from discussions between the planning commission and board of commissioners, Turley said. Both boards want officials to take a proactive approach, he added.

Turley plans to work with members of both boards, along with township residents and business owners to develop the imitative further, he said.

“There is a good amount of interest from the planning commissioners, the board and expertise in the business community,” Turley said. “A lot of diversified expertise is needed. So involving all those parties and individuals would be important.

“We just need to get some energy behind this, so that it gets moving and doesn't just fizzle out.”

Shepherd said the township may consider hiring a consulting firm on an as-needed basis to assist in developing a plan. Officials plan to develop an inventory of vacant commercial properties, he said.

“We want to do more than just having one person, sitting in an office, calling companies and asking if they want to come to North Huntingdon,” Shepherd said. “That's not enough to truly attract the types of businesses we hope to attract.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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