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Business

Northpointe complex seen as future of Armstrong County

| Friday, Oct. 19, 2001

SOUTH BUFFALO - The cement trucks continued to drive through Armstrong County's new Northpointe business and technology park even as state and local leaders met Thursday to dedicate the complex.

''It means they're working, and they're building something here,'' said Samuel McCullough, secretary of the state Department of Community and Economic Development.

McCullough told 200 government and business leaders that the Northpointe Industrial Park was the future of Armstrong County, the state and the country.

''You are inventing the future of your county and the future of the hard-working families that will be working here,'' said McCullough. ''This growing industrial park is another success story as we try as a state to advance economically.''

''Incredibly impressive,'' said McCullough, who arrived by helicopter and was able to view the entire project from the air.

Northpointe, located near the Slate Lick exit of Route 28, 32 miles north of Pittsburgh, was involved in a local controversy last month when Siemens-Westinghouse Power Corp. decided to locate a major fuel cell plant and up to 500 jobs in Allegheny County instead of the Armstrong County complex.

Northpoint had been the front-runner for the fuel cell plant, prompting Armstrong County officials to criticize the lack of the regional communication and cooperation in the Siemens-Westinghouse decision.

Spread over 925 acres, the $22 million park was built for the high-tech businesses that county officials hope will drive the economy for many years. Northpointe has room to grow and expand as more companies locate in the park.

The county commissioners have touted the park as the future home of the electro-optic industry that specializes in technologies ranging from night vision equipment for the military to lasers used in health care to remove hair. The first business to locate in the park is Armstrong Laser Technology, Inc. which manufactures laser diodes.

''We knew economic development was not going to happen. We had to make it happen,'' said Armstrong County Commissioner Jack Dunmire. ''From this day forward, it will mean more jobs, a better future and more chances to keep our children and our grandchildren here.''

The dedication took place during the third annual ARMTech Showcase of Industry and Technology, a three-day event hosted by the Armstrong County Industrial Development Corp. that brings national corporations and local businesses together to discuss ways to network.

Some of the companies represented at the dedication included Boeing Corp., Rolls-Royce North America, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and others.

Mitch Fryer writes for the Leader Times, Kittanning.

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