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Local Manufacturer Moves To Commerce Park

| Saturday, May 12, 2012, 4:03 a.m.

INDIANA--The commissioners Wednesday "enthusiastically" approved the sale of a plot of land at Commerce Park in White Township to a local growing manufacturing business.

Cherryhill Manufacturing, Inc., maker of the U-Sand orbital floor sander, currently has its headquarters at Corporate Campus in Burrell Township. But after demand for their innovative product rose to new heights recently, Cherryhill began to research the possibility of a bigger and better manufacturing facility.

"They're right now getting more orders for their product than they can fill," said Commissioner Bernie Smith of the U-Sand, a floor sander with an orbital head that easily reaches along corners and sides not always accessible with a regular floor sander.

Home Depot recently picked up a contract with Cherryhill to sell the U-Sand at its stores.

In order to keep up with growing demand, Cherryhill, with the approval of the commissioners, will purchase Lot No. 4 at the county Commerce Park for $90,816.50.

On that 3.12 acres of land, Cherryhill plans to build a 22,500 square-foot building that will then be utilized as company headquarters, along with housing the manufacturing and assembly facility.

The idea behind the company, said Smith, originally was founded in Alverda, Pine Township.

The first prototype was produced in late 1998 inside a small business incubator in the Robert Shaw building at IUP.

Since then, Cherryhill has refined the U-Sand and patented it, and has developed other products, such as customized floor medallions.

The company currently employs approximately 20 people, but once the new building is constructed, Smith said they expect to hire up to 30 more workers.

Aeptec Microsystems, Inc., a secure wireless networking device manufacturer which also has an office at Corporate Campus, is looking taking over the space that will be vacated by Cherryhill.

The Commerce Park property is a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone, noted Smith, and helped Cherryhill financially by providing tax abatement.

"You talk about a success story," Smith said of Cherryhill Manufacturing, Inc. "Well, here it is. They have a product that people want."

The county Solid Waste Authority received approval to apply for a $373,000 grant through Marion Center National Bank for improvements to the Indiana County Recycling Center along Rt. 119.

New processing equipment, the replacement of one of the center's collection trucks, and capital improvements to both the Recycling Center building and the compost facility are included in the renovation plans.

According to Tim Long, executive director of the Solid Waste Authority, the state Department of Environmental Protection issued the county a reimbursement grant for the improvements, meaning the county must initially pay for the work, then will be compensated by the state once the invoices and paperwork are received.

"If we spend the money, we know we can get it back, but we have to have the funding up front first," he explained.

The grant amount will be for 90 percent of the total construction costs of $414,478--the county is required to supply a 10 percent local match.

According to Long, the renovations will provide the recycling center with a better arrangement for office staff, and a modernization of the center's operations.

An agreement was also approved for the implementation of the Team Pennsylvania Business Calling Program in the county through the Tri-County Workforce Investment Board.

The agreement states that the CareerLink office will assist the Office of Planning and Development with interviewing businesses via telephone to help fulfill the county's obligations under the Team Pa. contract.

CareerLink's involvement in the program will provide a partnership between the planning office to promote workforce development services to local businesses.

The Young Township storm sewer project saw one bid approved and one removed by the commissioners.

Lane Construction was awarded a $9,586.50 bid to install 12- and 15-inch pipe on a per-linear-foot basis, while a second bid for stone to be used for the project was dismissed.

Bids will be reopened for the stone and for 2x2 concrete boxes, for which no bids were received within the allotted time. Funding for these projects is provided through the county's 2000 Community Block Development Grant.

The paths between the Indiana Junior and Senior high schools should soon become safer with the commissioners' agreement to provide $45,000 through Transportation Enhancement Grant funds the Indiana Area School District.

The money will be used by the Safe Routes to School program to implement traffic-calming devices along North Fifth Street, between the two schools, with the intention of improving pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

A hydrogeological study and well development were sanctioned by the commissioners for the Barr Slope well development project in Green Township.

Casselberry and Associates of State College were given the go-ahead to conduct the studies in order to search out the location of a secondary water source to be used while the Barr Slope reservoir is under repair. Their contract amount is for $28,410, and will be funded through the township's 1999 and 2001 CDBG entitlement.

Once the repairs are made to the reservoir, it will remain the township's primary water source, and the new well the secondary.

After completing asbestos testing and other precautions, the Green Township High School is another step closer to demolition after the approval of a contract for abatement removal with R. L. Abatement of Hopewell.

For $1,200, the company will remove close to 80 feet of TSI pipe from the building to prepare it for demolition.

The contract amount will be covered under the township's 1998 CDBG entitlement.

Once the pipe is removed, demolition specifications will be refined, with actual destruction of the school expected to occur by the end of September. Plans to use the site for a community park are in development.

Noting that this demolition project has seen several setbacks recently, Commissioner Randy Degenkolb said, "It's really pleasing to know that this might come together in the next two or three months."

The commissioners offered a loan guarantee to Cherry Tree Borough for its sewage treatment system project. The borough is seeking to borrow a one percent loan through PennVest for the project.

The loan amount, $1,173,999, would be applied to the total project costs of $5,308,132.

The commissioners' loan guarantee will prevent an additional $2 a month being added to the user's fee, right now projected as being around $42 monthly.

Bids are already open for the project, and construction is slated to begin in September.

The courthouse information desk received recognition for the celebration of its 10th anniversary under operation by community volunteers.

In a proclamation sanctioned by the commissioners, it was stated that 178,866 information requests have been addressed by the desk volunteers since its inception on Aug. 2, 1993.

From that time, 34 volunteers have donated 11,985 hours of their time, 19 of them this year.

Enrico Colonna, Margaret Marshall, and Polly Hlusko were all honored for their service in all 10 years of the information desk's operation.

A second proclamation named August 2003 as "Native American Awareness Month" in the county.

Members of the Thunder Mountain Lenape Nation were on hand to give the commissioners gifts of tea in appreciation of their involvement in the local Native American community.

The group also announced that Aug. 16 and 17 will be the dates for its annual Native American festival in Nowrytown. Traditional Native American dancing, food, and arts and crafts will be offered, along with a history of the culture in the area.

The festival will be held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, rain or shine. For more information, call 724-459-5276 or visit

In response to a request for help from Warren County after being hit with destructive winds and rain the past few days, Smith said that Indiana County donated 6,000 sandbags and five cases of road flares to its ailing neighbor.

A number of roads in Warren County have been closed due to flooding, and many of the county's residents have been without power since Monday.

A truck from the county's Emergency Management Department shipped the supplies on Wednesday in an example of what Smith called "county helping county."

The supplies are stockpiled in the case of an emergency within Indiana County, and Warren County will replace all items borrowed once the emergency has been diverted.

"When somebody else has problems, I think it is our responsibility to help, and vice versa" said Smith. "We're all in this together."

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