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Turley named director of North Huntingdon development initiative

| Monday, June 24, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

North Huntingdon leaders are taking steps to bring new businesses to the township.

In an effort to stimulate development, the township commissioners named assistant manager Mike Turley as the director of its development initiative. Turley will help encourage businesses, ranging from high-end office and research jobs to light manufacturing, to come into North Huntingdon, municipal 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, made up of members of the board of commissioners, planning commission and township residents to discuss ways to potentially bring more commercial development into the township.

The initiative stemmed from discussions between the planning commission and board of commissioners, Turley said. Both boards want officials to take a proactive approach to attracting businesses to North Huntingdon, 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. “There is a lot of diversified expertise needed, so involving all those parties and individuals would be important.

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

Shepherd said officials may consider hiring a consulting firm to work with township officials on an as-needed basis to develop a plan to encourage development. Officials also plan to develop an inventory of vacant commercial properties, he added.

“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.

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