In The News

In the News
Land swap may save floundering Pike County business park
By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Writer October 03, 2012

Pike County economic developers hope to swap part of the long-dormant business park in Blooming Grove Township for state gamelands. The goal? Put a new business park at the current gamelands site near the intersection of routes 6 and 739. Salamanders, setbacks and a pending sale have spurred consideration of the land exchange. Here’s the background: LP Cylinder Service of Shohola plans to buy nearly 36 acres of the business park for $536,000, plus a never-used sewage treatment plant for $40,000. It is part of a business expansion in which LP Cylinder expects to double its current workforce of 40 at the business park. The rest of the park is undevelopable due to a number of environmental limitations, said Mike Sullivan, executive director of the Pike Economic Development Authority. Endangered salamanders are living there. The land has large rock croppings that are hard to build on. In addition, there are 300 acres of wetlands, plus smaller pockets of wetlands throughout the business park. Wetland setback rules have become more restrictive since the land was purchased in 1997. The modern setbacks squeeze out building space on the site. “I hate being held up because we don’t have a place to put people,” Sullivan said. “We need 250 acres of developable land set aside.” That is why the development authority is pursuing a land swap with the state, trading the remaining 570 acres of the business park to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in exchange for 285 acres of state game land along Route 6 in Blooming Grove Township. The gamelands are less than a mile west from the intersection of Route 739 and abut Blooming Grove Hunting Club property. A state program allows land swaps like this. The current, empty business park has racked up at least $2.5 million in debt to obtain the land and prepare it for use. The debt was incurred with the plan of paying it back as plots of land were sold. That didn’t happen. Now the Pike County Business Development Corporation, which has title to the park, is in default of a $982,000 loan from the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority, and accruing interest of 5 percent on the loan. Sullivan is negotiating with the state to get a two-year forbearance of the loan. This would give Pike time to complete the land swap, sell the land to businesses and settle the old debts.
Nursing home grand opening ´a joyous occasion for us all'
Westfall. Festive ribbon cutting celebrates a new major employer and the completion of a facility that’s been four years in the making.

A 70-bed nursing home that includes 50 units of assisted living apartments has just opened inimage-fran-nursing-home-1-jpg_4-2572369_20210428114558 Westfall Township.

People from the community gathered for the April 17 ribbon cutting at the Delaware Valley Senior Health Center, where they heard speeches from dignitaries and enjoyed a buffet that included a range of delicious dishes, from stuffed shrimp to Virginia-style pizza, along with wine and beer.

“This project will provide about 125 new jobs, a major new tax source for the school, township and county,” said Mike Sullivan, executive director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority. “It has already been a major investment in Pike County and will feature a good deal of hyper-local spending at Pike County’s businesses and suppliers. It is a joyous occasion for us all.”

Pike County Commissioner Ronald R. Schmalzle stressed the great value of having the facility in the area. He said he has “vowed continued availability to help in any way possible to ensure the success of this much-needed facility.”

The Delaware Valley Senior Health Center is located on Rivers Edge Drive, which pops up after the entrance to Home Depot off of Reuben Bell Drive in Westfall.

Mike Kelly and Susan Keefer, the owners of Senior Health Care Solutions, have waited more than four years for their facility’s grand opening.

When Sullivan cut the ribbon, everyone cheered.
Delaware Valley Skilled Nursing opens in Pike

MATAMORAS – Delaware Valley Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center has opened its new facility in Westfall Township, outside Matamoras, in eastern Pike County. Their first residents arrived the week of January 11.53b4e096-f4f6-47e4-b93c-2c6899c01d84-Enrance_farther

Michael P. Kelly, President of Senior Health Care Solutions, LLC (SHCS), said the project was five years in the making, and said it was a relief to see it open, and truly exciting. He said it is “fruitful and gratifying to see it come together and be even better than we anticipated.”

Bright, airy & high tech

Tours were given the week before. Rachel Verde, Marketing and Admissions Director, led the way, showing the bright and airy common area and physical rehabilitation room, the state-of-the-art private and semi-private rooms, dining room and other amenities.

The nursing and rehabilitation center is a 70 bed facility. They offer both short and long term residency and care, and take both private pay and insurance.

Semi-private rooms have a partition which can be closed, and a large, shared bathroom.

Verde said that they describe their pleasant accommodations as a “hotel-type room in a nursing home facility.”

The large communal lounge is accentuated with upholstered chairs and sofas, square supporting columns with the appearance of being made of field stone; and generous array of windows allowing a bright and airy atmosphere.

The dining room and activity room are off the lounge.

This lounge is at the hub of the four wings that make up the layout of the one-story facility. The hub also includes a cafe lounge and long nurses station.

The offices are in the first wing off the entrance. Also in this section is the large therapy room, which has a huge section of window glass, like that in a greenhouse. It can give the feeling of being outside, bathed in light and seeing the sky as one exercises on the machines.

There are 43 residents’ rooms along four wings. Twenty-eight of these are semi-private, with two beds separated by the partition.

The dining room, activities room and kitchen make up most of the fourth wing.

In addition to this facility, a 50-room assisted living center is right next door on the same property. This is expected to be open in March or early April.

Baby boomers

Kelly described the new nursing care facility as a model meeting the needs and expectations of the up and coming “Baby Boomer” generation.

More so than their parents before them, he said the new generation who may need these facilities, expects more privacy. So, more private rooms were created, and there is flexibility in being able to dine in their room if they wish, or in a congregate setting.

They also have Wifi and a large flat-screen TV (with DirectTV) in each residential room.

The facility is high tech, he said, with new safety features, computerization of records and ability to remotely monitor a resident’s temperature or other issues needing immediate attention.

Staff have been trained and are being given time to be acclimated to these advanced systems of care.

Staff and services

Their staff is made up of physicians, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, a physical therapist, occupational therapists, speech pathologists, audiologists, dieticians, recreational activities professionals, social workers, housekeepers and maintenance personnel.

Skilled services include cardiac recovery services, digestive disease services, infusion therapy, orthopedic recovery services, short and long term rehabilitation, renal disease services, restorative therapy, respite care, wound care and physical therapy.

Their dietary department provides a varied menu to suit personal tastes while meeting each person’s specific nutritional needs. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served daily in the main dining room, and snacks are offered throughout the day and evening.

Delaware Valley Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center broke ground in March 2019.

The new facility has been hailed as helping to meet a critical need in Pike County for elder car and job creation.

About 97 people are employed full-time at the nursing home facility; another approximately 50 will work full-time at the assisted living center. Additionally, about another 20 part-time jobs were created between the two facilities.

Thankful for vaccine

COVID-19 has presented a suite of challenges. Like in senior care facilities nationwide, since the pandemic struck last spring, their residents have lost the personal interaction with family, who have been restricted from normal visitation. Alternative methods are used, from Skype to seeing them through a window.

They had a few COVID-19 cases at the Pottsville and Sayre facilities.

COVID presents a challenge in showing families through their facilities, who are shopping for a senior care home for their loved one. Kelly said that families can make appointments, and abridged tours may be arranged, and information is available online.

Kelly said he is so thankful for the COVID-19 vaccines that are now being distributed. He said all of their residents have received the first shot, and the second round is beginning; staff are also being vaccinated. He said he is hopeful they can see the “light at the end of the tunnel.”

COVID also delayed the completion of the project and created cost over runs due to material prices increasing.

The project cost totaled approximately $23 million.

Many to thank

Kelly made the application to the state in April of 2015.

SHCS announced the project after it was approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Human Services.

Pike County Economic Development Agency (EDA) worked to help SHCS find the site.

This was one of the last, if not the last site available with central sewer in the Matamoras area that they could use.

These two facilities are the 24th and 25th facilities built by SHCS. Kelly said the Scranton-based company started in 1997, with a facility in Peckville. He said they have been wanting to bring services to Pike County, where there is such a need, the population is growing and their proximity to the New York and New Jersey markets.

Kelly expressed his thanks for the many players that supported them, including Westfall Township, Pike county Commissioners, Pike EDA and Davis R. Chant Realtors.

The new facility is located at 111 Rivers Edge Drive, Matamoras, fronts the Heritage Pointe 55-and older community and is next to The Home Depot and just off I-84.

Three out of Three LSA Applications Funded

Late last summer, the Pike County Economic Development Authority’s Tammy Savarese assisted applicants looking to obtain LSA grants. LSA Funds are revenues that come from the Commonwealth’s share of legal wagering and games within the State of Pennsylvania. Three separate applications were submitted by the Pike County Economic Development Authority on behalf of three local not-for-profit organizations. In years past, the Pike County Economic Development Authority had previously been awarded LSA grants to assist in projects like the roof replacement of the American Legion Post 851 in Dingmans Ferry and 50% of the construction costs of the Pike County Public Library in Milford.

This year, the three final project applications included funding for the following projects:

  • The Milford Community House for interior restoration.
  • Funds for the Pocono Environmental Education Center to help construct a new ‘sustainable” building to accommodate more children.
  • Funding for the American Legion Post 139 in Milford to repair their damaged parking lot.

The Pike County Commissioners and all elected officials as well as members of the Pennsylvania House and Senate all played an important role in the application process and aided in the successful results below. Commissioner Matt Osterberg said that “these funds play a vital role in supporting local projects that otherwise would likely go unfunded.” The table below shows the level of funding requested and the amount of the 2017 LSA funding awards:

Each project will now need to comply with regulations and oversight by local and state officials. However, according to Tammy Savarese, “it has been a good year.” For more information contact: Michael Sullivan, Pike County Economic Development Authority (570) 296-7332

´Extraordinary' job fair set April 15

MILFORD – “Come dressed in your best shirt,” Michael Sullivan advised, eagerly encouraging thoseAR-160409854-1 looking for a job or a better job, to attend the upcoming Working Pike Job Fair.

Real, solid job opportunities are being promised, with over 60 companies from Pike County and surrounding counties in three states coming together Friday, April 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Job Fair will be at the Best Western Inn at Hunts Landing, 120 Routes 6 & 209, Matamoras. There is no cost to job seekers to attend and find out what is available.

Sullivan, who is Executive Director of Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA), and Cynthia DeFebo, Director of the Pike County Workforce Development Agency, briefed the County Commissioners on the developments, April 6th. Working Pike Job Fair is a collaborative effort between the County and several area faith-based organizations, the latter which initiated this effort to help those with employment needs.

“This is an excellent time for people who are unemployed, underemployed or… are traveling to work,” Sullivan said. “This is a worthwhile effort for you to begin looking for alternative options.”

Turning point DeFebo called the job fair a symbol that Pike County was coming out of the economic setback ignited by the national Recession several years ago. “This is really a turning point for Pike County residents,” she said.

Nothing like this has been held since the Great Recession in 2007, Sullivan added.

He announced that 65 companies have registered to be at the Fair. The full list is not being released ahead of time, to discourage anyone getting a jump on what is available, he said. Once the Fair is over, a directory will be available online at the Pike EDA web site ( and printed copies at the Pike County Workforce Development Agency.

Offering just a taste, the employers signed up, he said, range from the Federal Bureau of Prisons to the Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. One brand new company that he mentioned without naming, is a firm starting in Pike County that is involved in a worldwide network selling art. That company is looking to hire 20 people, he said.
Not fluff “Job seekers will not be disappointed,” DeFebo said. “We have a lot of business coming; it’s not just one of those circuses you see and it’s just a bunch of fluff. These are real employers that are really hiring that day.”

Most of the jobs offered by these companies are within an hour’s drive, DeFebo stated, which is a lot better than commuting to some jobs held by Pike County residents.

DeFebo advised, “So come dressed to impress. Come dress for an interview and bring you resume.” She said that the Pike County Workforce Development Agency is holding workshops on preparing a resume leading up to the Job Fair, and there will be resume assistance on site.”

Affordable senior housing celebrated
WESTFALL TWP. – A ceremonial groundbreaking was held Friday, October 9th, for a 93-unit affordablewestfall senior citizen housing complex near Matamoras. The $10 million+ project is expected to help meet a critical housing need in Pike County when the facility opens in about a year.

Jonah Mendelbaum is the developer. His company, MJJ Builders located in Warwick, NY, has built in excess of 2,000 senior apartments in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties, New York. Among his projects is Waters Edge in Port Jervis. This is his first project in Pennsylvania.

Once done, it will provide housing for seniors age 55 and over, meeting certain income eligibility requirements as defined by the federal government. He stated that the income levels for 2016 will be released in the spring, and he then will provide the information so that residents will know if they are eligible, and how to apply.

The three-story complex, designed in a right angle, will host a community room and one bedroom apartments, each with a living area, kitchen and bathroom. Each one of them will be handicapped accessible.

Robin LoDolce, Executive Director of the Pike County Area Agency on Aging, told the gathering under the tent that for years her Office had heard that the beautiful, rural landscapes in Pike County draw people here, but a big drawback for seniors is lack of access to services.

The project is being built on a flat parcel off Route 6/209 along the Delaware River, at the end of Hulst Drive, Westfall Township, between Hampton Inn and Paddlers Point, behind K-Mart. In close proximity is an abundance of stores, restaurants, a theater and other services that make up a community from churches to doctor offices, from Milford to Matamoras. Ahead of them is the spectacular view of the Westfall Township ridge line, and behind them, the Delaware.

Commissioner Matthew Osterberg added later that aside from services, what is making this project happen is the fact that Westfall’s commercial district has central sewer and water. This is a big reason why the project is not being built in more remote areas of Pike.

It all started with a phone call. Aware of the critical need for senior housing, and knowledgeable of Mendelbaum’s projects in New York State, one day Osterberg telephoned him “to see what would happen,” he said.

Osterberg said this was an “important day” in Pike County. “To me it’s so important that we keep our seniors close; everybody needs to age in place. It’s not fair that as people age in our community they need to move to another locations. They don’t want to do that. They want to stay near their families and their friends. And that’s what we are here today to do.”
Complex A Christmas (2016) Present For Seniors

By Kenneth Bookscomplex

WESTFALL — By Christmas 2016, some 93 Pike County senior citizens may have new, modern housing near Kmart in Westfall Township. Ground was broken for the new housing complex Friday, Oct. 9.“We’re hoping people will be able to move in before next Christmas,” said developer Jonah Mandelbaum. “People are already calling us.” When it’s completed, the complex will have 93 one-bedroom units with living room, bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, plus a common room and pavilions and barbecue facilities for dining al fresco. Each unit, Mandelbaum said, will rent for between $400 and $600, depending on income guidelines, to be set down next year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The final cost will be in the neighborhood of $10 million, he said. The units will be available to those 55 and older as well as to disabled veterans, he said.

Each unit will contain 700 square feet of living space, he said, in two L-shaped buildings. Mandelbaum is no stranger to this kind of enterprise. The owner of MJJ Builders in Warwick, NY, has built nearly 2,000 similar facilities, he said. He had hoped to begin the project this summer, but the applications, including environmental impact statements, took some three months to complete. Pike County needs housing such as this, said Economic Development Authority Executive Director Michael Sullivan. He said nationally 14.5 percent of Americans are more than 65 years of age. In Pike County, though, the percentage is 20.3. “Just getting seniors around is difficult,” Sullivan said, as many no longer drive.

Mandelbaum said the Westfall Township supervisors are behind the project “100 percent.” He said the project is in response to a request by County Commissioner Matt Osterberg that he build senior housing in Pike County. County Commissioner Richard Caridi said the relationship between Pike County and Mandelbaum “was because Matt knew his family.” “It’s not fair that people of this age in our community have to move somewhere else,” Osterberg said. In addition to the housing, the project will bring a great many jobs to Pike County. Mandelbaum said some 140 construction workers will be employed during the building process, and the completed facility will employ a full-time manager, a superintendent and maintenance personnel.

Sullivan agreed, saying, “This is really an economic development project. These types of projects are the stuff that makes the community grow. I think Kmart (located just beside the project footprint) is going to be happy.” Caridi said the project is funded privately, with no tax dollars being used… for complete story, get this week’s issue.

EDA Honors Five Firms For County Investment, Employment

By Kenneth Booksdomestic-voilence

TAFTON — Five companies were honored with 2015 Pike County Economic Development Awards at the Economic Development Summit Dinner Wednesday, Sept. 30. The awards, which consisted of plaques from the Economic Development Authority and certificates from Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey, were presented in recognition of significant investment and creation of new jobs in the county.

Recipients were:

  • LP Cylinder Service, Inc., which has operated in Shohola for 30 years, expanded its existing Shohola business by 56,000 square feet, creating several new products and employing 37 new workers. The company is under the guidance of Maurice Ryman and wife Jackie, daughter Becky and son Christopher.
  • Kahr Arms, which recently completed construction of a 40,000-square-foot manufacturing plant in Blooming Grove Township, opening for business Aug. 11. It is expected to employ 67 new workers as the manufacturing process begins in 2016. “We found a great family and a great county,” commented CEO Justin Moon.
  • All Fresh Farms, whose three partners, Garry Merritt, Steve Nelson and Ernest DeMarco, bought the 53,000-square-foot Swiss Maid building in Greene Township this summer, will soon begin to operate its proprietary hydroponic vegetable-growing operation, designed to produce 100,000 pounds of produce each week. All fresh expects to employ 200 people.
  • Econo-Pak Packaging, a former New Jersey-based company, began operating in Milford Township early last year and employs about 500 people, nearly 200 of whom are new Pike County residents. “We were able to hire some extraordinary employees,” commented CEO PJ Weibel.
  • Middletown Community Health Center, founded in 1971 and led by CEO Theresa Butler, acquired the former Biondo Building, which is now its center for providing medical treatment to under-insured or minimally insured residents of Pike County.

It employs 14 people at its 9,400-square-foot facility and expects more hiring to come. MCHC also provided services to the 10 percent of county residents who are veterans.

Pike County Economic Development Authority to present new business awards, venture capitalist guest speaker
MILFORD — The Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) will hold its EconomicMichael_Brubaker Development Summit Dinner on Wednesday, Sept. 30, at Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort, located at 205 Route 507 in Hawley.

The agenda will include discussions about economic development since the last summit in February; changes in the local economy, like the unemployment rate over the past few years; and plans for the immediate future, including a recent effort to solicit targets in New England.

Former state Senator Michael Brubaker will be the guest speaker. He is the past chair of the Rural Affairs and Senate Finance Committee, and is now the CEO of the Blackford Ventures, LLC, one of Pennsylvania’s top venture capital investment firms. Brubaker will discuss the role of venture capital and how it might be used in Pike County.

Five new businesses will receive the 2015 EDA Economic Development Award for their contributions to the local economy. The award is granted to companies who have made significant investment and created new jobs in Pike County. Recipients will receive a special trophy.

The program will also focus on key issues that either enhance or inhibit EDA efforts to attract thoughtful and desirable growth to the county. Discussions will include how low Pennsylvania personal income tax rates, high corporate tax rates, and lack of infrastructure are used to attract certain classifications of businesses to Pike County. – See more at:

This meeting especially targets landowners, engineering firms, bankers, legal firms, real estate agents, builders, public officials, members of the media, and anyone else interested in the economic future of Pike County.

The evening will feature a buffet dinner from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $35 0 per person. To RSVP call Tammy Savarese at the Pike County Economic Development Office at 570-296-7332.
Pike's economic progress hailed

By Peter Becker Managing EditorAR-151009970

Pike County Economic Development 2015 awards were given to five companies, Wednesday night. From left: Justin Moon, CEO, Kahr Arms; Theresa H. Butler, CEO, Middletown Community Health Center; Garry Merritt (co-owner), All Fresh Farms and Paul Wiebel and his sons Robert and PJ (CEO), of Econo-Pak Packaging. Management from LP Cylinder Service, Inc., was unable to attend. News Eagle photo by Peter Becker

TAFTON – Representing at least 718 new jobs in Pike County, six companies that either recently relocated or expanded here were honored September 30th by the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA).

Bright and shining examples of hope and due diligence of addressing what had been a low point in Pike’s economic forecast only a few years ago, EDA’s Executive Director Michael E. Sullivan spoke of the challenges, strategies and opportunities for Pike’s success. The forum was the annual EDA dinner at Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort.

Firms honored included LP Cylinder Service, Inc., Route 6 Shohola Township, adding 37 jobs; Kahr Arms, which purchased the Pike County Business Park in Blooming Grove Township, opening August 11 and planning to add 67 jobs; All Fresh Farms, a hydroponic vegetable facility opening in Greene Township and planning 200 jobs; Econo-Pak Packaging, which relocated early last year to Milford Township, employing about 400 people (196 being from Pike County) and Middletown Community Health Center which opened a facility in Milford in 2014, employing 14 persons with more expected as the center grows.

••• Business deals

Keynote speaker was Michael Brubaker, former PA Senator and now CEO of Blackford Ventures, LLC., Lancaster County. He spoke on their strategies for making investments and closing business deals. He stressed that business acquisition was 80 percent about the people involved and 20 percent about the business. Essential qualities include intelligence, integrity; staying focused; following through and finalizing a deal in a timely manner. Staying optimistic and making a solution simple are also key to their strategy.

Reviewing Pike County’s recent experience and outlook, Sullivan noted that the nations’ economic recession in 2007 was not felt locally until September 2008. Unemployment reached 10.6%.

Pike EDA has been at work to cut that down. “Trend is our friend,” Sullivan said, and the trend has been good. The jobless rate in July was down to 6.3%. Considering 325 jobs that newly relocated or expanded firms are expecting, that would bring the unemployment figure down further, to 5.05%.

These jobs, however, are being held up by government regulations, he said.

••• Manufacturing better

While they value every job, including leisure and hospitality, Sullivan noted that EDA is focusing on bringing more manufacturing positions, which yield higher wages and are full-time.

The average retail job in Pike County provides $17.51/hour, and 31.5 hours a week. The average Leisure and hospitality job brings in $14.40/hour and only 26..2 hours a week. Manufacturing, however, brings an average of $25.33 /hour and 40.7 hours a week.

Pike County’s job base consists of 14.1% retail, similar to the national rate; 12.8% leisure and hospitality (above the national) and only 1.9% manufacturing (below the national median).

Pike County had a total of 888 businesses; Orange County has 6.5 times as many people and 11 times as many businesses.

Those 888 businesses employ 7,756 people. On top of that are the 3,700 sole proprietorships in Pike. Over half of Pike County’s residents who are employed, commute outside Pike County for their work.

Reviewing the tax advantages for business in Pike County, Sullivan noted that they are limited to attracting LLC companies and subchapter S companies.

Land that has pre-approvals is very important in attracting new business. This means acreage which has already been screened by the township and has its local and state permits. The sluggishness of obtaining state permits is a serious problem; Pike EDA has been pushing PennDOT and PA Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) for a speedier process.

EDA is also reaching to local planning boards on the needs for economic development. Sullivan said he and EDA Chairman Matthew Osterberg recently attended one that was best described as “depressing.”

What they wish to stress to local governments is that for every dollar paid by a residential taxpayer, the municipality will pay $1.19 in services. For every dollar paid by industry and commercial interests, the municipal expense is only 32 cents to provide services.

••• Schools, arts important

“Cherish our school districts,” Sullivan added; we have good ones, and the quality of schools is one thing a developer asks about before deciding to relocate here. Another aspect important is arts and culture. This will make a difference in a firm coming or not, he said. One prospect asked, “but what do you do around here?”

Market the area in a way that both residents and business can prosper. Pike EDA seeks companies that would be a good fit environmentally.

More information on doing business in Pike County, PA and about the Pike EDA is available at or by calling 570-296-7332. Their office is at 209 E. Harford St., Milford, which shares space with the Pike County Chamber of Commerce.

Pike's economic progress hailed

By Peter Becker Managing Editor

MILFORD -Trumpeting significant progress in the economic front, Pike County officials are planning a dinner to celebrate and help chart strategies they move forward, seeking to overcome remaining hurdles.

Michael Sullivan, Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) told the Commissioners, September 2nd, that the currently posted jobless rate of only 6.2% is even better than that when you count the jobs promised by five new businesses or business expansions underway in the past 16 months.

He said when you figure then drops to an outstanding 4.99%. Just three and a half years ago the unemployment rate in Pike County was 12.6%.

“Pretty cool,” Sullivan said.

When the Pike EDA’s 2015 Dinner is held Wednesday, September 30th at Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort, the five companies are slated to receive a shared award for economic development. These include LP Cylinder Service, Inc., Shohola, which recently went through 56,000 square foot expansion; Econo-Pak, RT. 6/209 near Milford, which opened in March 2015; Middletown Community Health Center, Milford; Kahr Arms in Blooming Grove Township, which held its grand opening in August and All Fresh Farms, Greene Township, which is preparing to start growing hydroponic vegetables this fall.

The momentum continues.

Sullivan stated that just the day before, he showed a potential client from outside Pennsylvania a site for a 100,000 square foot building at the Blooming Grove Business Park, which is now owned by Kahr Arms. Another firm has been in touch with the Pike EDA, looking for a three story building where 100 employees would be expected to work.

The guest speaker at the dinner is former Pennsylvania Senator, Michael Brusker, who is now the CEO of Blackford Ventures, LLC. While serving the 36th District in Lancaster County for two terms on the Senate, he served as chairman of both the Agriculture and Rural Affairs Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. Currently he is in charge of a prestigious Pennsylvania investment company.

Commissioner Matthew Osterberg noted that Brubaker has been in Pike County twice before, and sees the potential here for economic investment. Sullivan stated that Brusker will discuss how venture capital might work in Pike County.

Sullivan said that landowners, builders and those in the financial industry should make it a “must” to attend this important dinner program. Last year Pike EDA had 145 guests at the dinner.

“This is very important to the future of this county…,” Commissioner Chairman Richard Caridi said. “We’re out there fighting for every nickel and dime we can to bring jobs, and keep our kids at home after they get out of high school or go to college… As we have increased sheriff sales and foreclosure, the tax base shrinks. What does that do? It puts the burden on everyone else that’s paying taxes. We’re trying to expand this tax base, and the best way to do it is with commercial entities and investment in our communities because they will share most of the burden and relieve that burden on the rest of us.”

Osterberg noted that 70 applications were received during the last two months for jobs at All Fresh Farms, most of them from Pike County residents. Kahr Arms is also being “flooded with applications,” he said.

“The more we can bring here, the more we can keep people here and close to their homes,” Osterberg added.

The tough part is how long it takes to locate an interested client and go through the process before a new business is finally open and ready to hire. Someone asked why it is so much easier in Lehigh County and even Monroe County.

Osterberg pointed to the lack of infrastructure in Pike County, including central sewer and water. Building projects happen a little quicker on Route 6/209 thanks to the central sewer system in Westfall Township. “Three or four years is too long,” Osterberg said. He added that are also looking to see how the state permitting process can be expedited.

Kahr Arms was fortunate in that they purchased the business park in Lords Valley which had lots ready to go, Sullivan noted. The process only too Kahr about 14 to 18 months.

The program at the September 30th dinner will not only celebrate recent success. Sullivan noted that strategies will be discussed about how Pike will enhance its capacity to create jobs and how they plan to overcome existing hurdles.

Reservations are required for the Pike EDA dinner, which cost $35 a person. Anyone interested should contact Tammy Savarese at 570-296-7332. The dinner is from 5 to 8 p.m. Ehrhardt’s is located at 205 Route 507, overlooking Lake Wallenpaupack in Tafton.

Kahr Arms dedicates Pike County HQ

By Peter Becker Managing Editor1kahr1

BLOOMING GROVE TWP. – The celebration dedicating the Kahr Arms plant Tuesday in Pike County was filed with patriotic fervor and affirmation of the American people’s right to bear arms.

A large gathering of state and local officials and other supporters filled a temporary banquet hall in what by next year is expected to be a retail firearms store. This was only the entrance of the 40,000 square foot building, which includes administrative functions and as they progress, actual assembly of rifles and handguns.

Kook Jin “Justin” Moon is the founder, chairman and CEO of the firm, which is relocating its headquarters from Rockland County, New York. Following the luncheon, he told the assembly that he became disappointed with New York State, which had enacted more stringent laws affecting gun ownership. Kahr Firearms Group made the decision to move to Pennsylvania, where regulations are more friendly for firearms sales.

Following the luncheon, Moon thanked the many public officials and others present who helped make it possible for his company to come here. Having purchased the entire 620 acre Pike County Business Park at Blooming Grove, Kahr Arms broke ground last summer at the site off Well Road.

Corporate headquarters and their sales and marketing department have already moved on. The web (online) shop will start up shortly from this facility. Research & Development will be moving in next. Step by step, they will bring in the warehouse functions, and finally the actual assembly of firearms.

The retail gun shop is expected to open in 2016. They also plan a firing range and firearms instruction classes on site.

In an interview, Moon stated that when fully functional they foresee hiring 50 to 60 people.

Although earlier projected job counts were higher, these also included the temporary work from construction.

U.S. Congressman Tom Marino, in his remarks, commented that this was only the beginning; the arrival of Kahr Arms will also attract other business investors to the region. Moon also stated that they plan to see other lots within the business park that they now own, which translates into further employment possibilities.

Moon told the assembly that he became disappointed with New York State, which had enacted more stringent laws affecting gun ownership. Kahn Firearms Group made the decision to move to Pennsylvania, where regulations are more friendly for firearms sales.

“I realized there was no future for firearms manufacturing in New York,” he said. “I was very disappointed by big city politics in the Empire state. When the rights of good people are restricted… criminals benefit. We don’t want to be a part of that or any empire that takes away basic human rights protected by our Constitution. Our Founding Fathers knew that well and it true today as it ever was.”

All Fresh Farms growing jobs in region

By Peter Becker Managing Editor

GREENE TWP. – New promise of good jobs has come to the area, with the announcement of the planned opening of All Fresh Farms this year in Greene Township, Pike County. At least 200 jobs are expected in the many phases of production at the hydroponic plant, which will grow and package lettuces, kales and basil year-round.

“We are excited about opening this facility in Pennsylvania and very impressed with the professionalism and interest shown by the Governor’s Action Team and the Department of Community and Economic Development,” said Steve Nelson, All Fresh Farms owner, in a released statement. “This strong welcome really solidified our decision to come to Pennsylvania. Our leafy vegetables and other produce will be labeled “locally grown” as we deliver to markets within 400 miles which will include Philadelphia, Washington D.C., and New York City. This is a great location with a great welcome to our company. We are looking forward to hiring and training employees this summer and hopefully selling our first crops by the fall.”
Michael Sullivan, Director of the Pike County Economic Development Agency (EDA), in concert with the County Commissioners, has been the lead point man in working with the new business. Sullivan stated that the company expects to pay starting wages of $12 to $15.

“We’re thrilled,” said Cindy DeFebo, Director of Pike County Workforce Development Agency. “This is definitely a shot in the arm; it’s definitely needed.” She said that her office has been receiving “tons” of inquiries and has been receiving resumes. At this point they are immediately forwarding the resumes to the Pike County EDA. DeFebo said she expected to meet with All Fresh Farm officials by the middle of June, when she expects to learn more. As of June 9th, she had not received job descriptions.

One point of interest that she was able to share is that All Fresh Farms is very interested in hiring veterans.

Anyone looking for job information in Pike County is encouraged to stop in at the Pike County Workforce Development Agency, located at the Shohola Business Park, Route 6, west of Milford. DeFebo said she would prefer that people stop in so that they can be entered into the state job registry, rather than simply sending a resume. The office may be contacted at 570-296-2909.

••• Fills a gap The arrival of All Fresh Farms fills a gap after the closure of Swiss Maid, a few years ago. All Fresh Farms is located in this 50,000 square foot facility, with plans to double the size of the building on the 10 acre parcel. The company plans to invest more than $3.4 million at the new site.

All Fresh Farms hailed by County
By Peter Becker Managing Editor

MILFORD – With plans for 200 jobs starting no less than $12 an hour, management from the hydroponics vegetable producer All Fresh Farms was welcomed June 17th, at the Pike County Commissioners’ meeting. The new company is preparing to begin operations in Greene Township this year.

Some new details were offered by Steve Nelson, Operations Manager. He also introduced Gary Merritt Sr., a founder of the Florida-based company, Gary Merritt Jr., who will be General Manager at the Pike County plant, and Ernest DeMarco, Certified Public Accountant.
All Fresh Farms will produce as much as 100,000 pounds of lettuce a week, as well as other leafy green vegetables including spinach, basil and kale under contract with major food distributors such as Cisco and US Foods. All of their product will be grown organically, without herbicides, pesticides or even soil. Plants will grow vertically, with a recycled, filtered water system. No water waste will leave the facility. He asked everyone to picture an upright 10 by 10 foot panel, with every three inches have a lettuce head. LED lights will provide the photosynthesis.
Operators will wear white uniforms, gloves and hair nets, to help preserve cleanliness. Water will not be allowed to collect on the floor. Fans will operate continuously, to help ensure insects do not reach the greens.

Their plan is to obtain Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) certification from the United States Department of Agriculture as an organic producer at the Greene Township site.
Their other facility, Royal Greens LLC, in Ridgeway, South Carolina, opened earlier this year. This site has helped test the operations. Nelson stated that their experience with the South Carolina plant will enable the operation in Pike County, PA to come together all the more quickly. He said that they have no trouble at all finding customers, but in being able to get up to full speed.
They have companies that want them to increase output to 500,000 pounds a week, but that would make a much large investment.

With 53,000 square feet and 18- 20 foot ceilings, they have ample room to start, plus the potential to double the size of the building on the 10 acres of land.
They will not start with 200 employees. Nelson said that they will begin the summer with a small cadre of 15 workers, who will train at the South Carolina site. The company will then add groups of employees, about 15 to 20 at a time, depending on how quickly the firm is able to get up and running. Hiring will be conducted through the Pike County Workforce Development Agency, where candidates will be pre-screened. Advertising will be done in newspapers and online. He said he has already heard from some “impressive candidates.” There are a variety of skills needed, such as in plumbing, electrical, construction and growing plants.
Year-round produce grower to create 200 jobs in Pike County

By Stacy M. Brown, Pocono Record Writer, May 21, 2015

Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg can finally exhale.

After six months of negotiations and the typical sweating out process that’s usually involved in closing big deals, Osterberg said he could now let out a sigh of relief after Gov. Tom Wolf announced Thursday that the Florida-based All Fresh Farms will establish a new facility in Greene Township creating at least 200 new jobs.

“When we first met with the firm about six or seven months ago, and we went over why they should come here, and as the process got closer, it was tough to keep quiet about it,” said Osterberg, who chairs the Economic Development Authority.

“It’s like being in sales, you are sure the deal will close, but you’re not 100 percent sure until it’s signed. We’ve been waiting for this day,” Osterberg said.

All Fresh Farms purchased the long-shuttered Swiss Maid Building on Mozzette Road, where the company plans to invest more than $3.4 million and double the facility size to 100,000-square-feet within the first five years.

The 200 jobs will have minimum hourly wages in the $12-$15 range, said Mike Sullivan, the executive director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority. Sullivan said, if all goes well, operations could be up and running by Sept. 1.

“The operation will have a harvest every 27 days, or 13 times a year. What’s interesting is that they’ll use a lot of neat technology, and we love this because of the environmental friendliness and, of course, the new jobs,” Sullivan said.

Steve Nelson, the company’s owner, said in a statement that he’s excited about opening the facility in Pike County and he was impressed with the interest displayed by Wolf’s team and the Department of Community and Economic Development.

“This strong welcome really solidified our decision to come to Pennsylvania,” Nelson said. “Our leafy vegetables and other produce will be labeled ‘locally grown,’ as we deliver to markets within 400 miles, which will include Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City. This is a great location with a great welcome to our company. We are looking forward to hiring and training employees this summer and hopefully selling our first crops by the fall.”

Dave Williams, a local farm producer and farm advocate, said the deal has the earmarks for success. “I had three interns from Delaware Valley College, and what we realize is that farming is way ahead of a lot of people and ideas. This hydroponic way has several advantages, including that they’ll be able to grow year round and having Philly and New York so close, it should really be good business,” Williams said.

All Fresh Farms is an indoor hydroponic production and packaging operation that specializes in growing lettuce mixes, kales and basil.

The hydroponic process grows plants using mineral nutrient solutions in water and without soil.

The process is relatively new, in that farmers are no longer limited because of the season, and they’re now able to grow produce and flowers at just about any time of the year.

In their agreement to locate in Pike County, All Fresh Farms received $400,000 Pennsylvania First Program grant, a $90,000 Workforce and Economic Development Network of Pennsylvania grant, and $400,000 in job creation tax credits.

They’ve also been asked to apply for a $500,000 First Industries Fund loan for machinery and equipment used in vegetable production and processing.

“This brings more tax dollars to the area as opposed to having to raise taxes,” Osterberg said. As an added bonus, Sullivan said the company is a good neighbor.

“It’s a nice investment, and it really fits nicely into Greentown. Also, people are always worried about what kind of neighbor they have or might have,” Sullivan said.

“Well, for so long they’ve had the worst kind of neighbor, an abandoned building. Now, they will have a friendly neighbor that’s bringing lots of jobs and revenue.”

Grants announced in Pike County

Jun. 1, 2015

Reps. Mike Peifer (R-Pike/Wayne) and Rosemary M. Brown (R-Monroe/Pike) announced this week that five area projects in Pike County have been chosen to receive state grants through the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Finance Authority’s (CFA) Local Share Account program.

LSA funds may be used for economic development, community development and public interest projects in Monroe County and these contiguous counties: Carbon, Lackawanna, Northampton, Pike and Wayne. The LSA program is required under the state’s Gaming Act, and was developed by the Department of Community and Economic Development.

The following projects will receive LSA program funding:

Pike County Courthouse — a Community Improvement Project — approved for $500,000 to allow for additions including a 30,000-square feet full basement, internal and external upgrades, new restroom facilities and more.

Greene Township salt and cinder shed — a Community Improvement Project — approved for $67,325 to cover engineering and construction costs.

Bushkill Fire Company in Lehman Township — a Public Interest Project — approved for $65,125 to purchase new firefighting turnout gear and a new heat camera.

Pennsylvania Avenue Revitalization in Matamoras — a Public Interest Project – Approved for $225,000 for the second phase of the Pennsylvania Avenue Revitalization project, which includes new sidewalks, curbs and proper lighting, as well as the planting of trees.

American Legion Roof Replacement, Pike County Economic Development Authority — a Public Interest Project — approved for $18,000 to assist with a roof replacement project.

Lehman Twp. passes tax relief program

Jun. 15, 2015

LERTA stands for “Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance” and is allowed under Pennsylvania statute. The program has some flexibility as to how it is set up, but the effect is to waive or reduce taxes by a set amount in the first year, with the full taxes gradually phasing in over a period that can be up to 10 years.

Supervisors OK tax incentive to promote new business

May. 18, 2015

GREENE TWP. – “New jobs, substantial enlargement of an existing building for an innovative, very green, high technology industry… something very nice will happen in Greentown,” Mike Sullivan, Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority, indicated Wednesday evening at the Greene Township supervisors’ meeting. “I am under a gag order and cannot announce anything.”

Sullivan is the Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA).

“We want to have an incentive program,” Sullivan said. He proposed that the Supervisors adopt the Pike County Tax Abatement Program.

••• Thoughtful economic development

“We are trying to promote thoughtful economic development,” he continued. “Relocating businesses are given incentive. New building tax abatement for a period of five years. Ninety percent in the 1st year, 80% in the 2nd year, 60% in the 3rd year, 40% in the 4th year and 20% in the 5th year.”

“It is a modest program, but lower taxes are paid in this area (as compared to NY or NJ). The municipality always gains but never loses a penny,” he explained.

“I understand that someone wants to develop the old Swiss Maid property off Mozzette Road,” chair Ed Simon noted.

••• Happiness guarantee

“Five other townships have agreed to the tax abatement program,” Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg stated. “The abatement is also extended to additions to existing buildings. Wallenpaupack Area School District has already agreed with the abatement program in other townships.”

“You will be very happy,” Osterberg promised. “Three businesses at this time have taken advantage of the abatement in the county.”

“Southern states offer tax incentives and it has become difficult for the Northeast to compete for business. This is a win-win for us,”

Solicitor Jeffrey Treat agreed. “Because there is no zoning it would be for the entire township not just a specific zone.”

The Supervisors agreed to adopt the tax abatement program.

••• Road projects

“Several roads are unable to be repaired due to continued frost upheaval, but should be repairable in two weeks,” roadmaster Jerry Obert reported.

“Our road improvement projects this year,” announced Simon, “first is to replace the pipe on Creek Road, next is to blacktop Lake Paupack Road from the Lake Paupack community entrance approximately 1700 feet south, then repair the road to the corner, and lastly to oil and chip the paved portion of Kuhn Hill Road.

The supervisors agreed to purchase liquid calcium from Peckham Industries at $1.069 per gallon for a total amount of $21,380.

••• Financial standing

The supervisors agreed to transfer $200,000 to a money market fund for three months.

The total checking and savings assets at the end of February 2009 was $51,111.96 and has increased each year. The total checking and savings assets at the end of February 2015 was $529,748.12.

The supervisors conditionally approved the Hespell two-lot subdivision, Rt. 447, contingent upon receipt of PennDOT highway occupancy permit.

June 12-14, 2015 was designated as Greene-Dreher alumni weekend. Supervisors agreed to donate $100 in honor of their 100th anniversary.

Spring Clean up is scheduled for Saturday, May 16.

The Greene Township Supervisors meet on the first Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the offices off Brink Hill Road, Greentown.

Developer eyes retail desert in Dingman Township

By Beth Brelje, Pocono Record Writer, THURSDAY, JULY 24, 2014

The man behind three Bartonsville retail developments is planning a major shopping-office-residential complex on Route 739 in Dingman Township.

Developer Jim DePetris of Plymouth Meeting-based DEPG Development Associates has confirmed that his company recently signed an agreement to buy more than 200 acres on Route 739 near the intersection of Log Tavern Road.

The land is on the same side of the road as the Dingman Delaware school complex.

The agreement is so new that it has not yet been presented to township officials, DePetris said.

He envisions the project happening in three phases.

The first phase will include the construction of 70,000 square feet of retail space for a supermarket and 10 to 15 retail stores.

The next phase will bring professional and medical offices. And a third phase will include some residential buildings, perhaps senior housing or townhouses, DePetris said.

Monroe track record
The work of DEPG Development Associates is well known to shoppers in Monroe County.

DEPG is responsible for three popular projects on Route 611 in Stroud Township, including the Dick’s Sporting Goods complex, Sonic drive-in restaurant and the strip mall with Moe’s Southwestern Grill and Sleepy’s mattress store.

“We had a vision there 12 years ago, and we have the same vision in Dingmans Ferry,” DePetris said.
“We do a good product. We work well with municipalities.”

No stores have been named yet because the project is so new, but DePetris said he has some prospects and that he met with Mike Sullivan, head of the Pike County Economic Development Authority.

“He was very encouraging. We feel there is a real need here for a supermarket,” DePetris said.

Underserved area
Sullivan said there is a $32.6 million market for a grocery store in the area.

To get that number, Sullivan crunched 2013 census figures and found that in 2013 the average household spent $5,024 on groceries.

There are some 9,500 homes within a radius that would use a grocery store in Dingman Township. To be conservative, Sullivan counted just 6,500 homes and multiplied that number by a household’s yearly grocery spending.

Much of that shopping is now done outside of Pike, Sullivan said.

In addition to groceries, there are other categories of spending showing that per capita retail spending is lower than it should be in Pike.

According to the latest, 2007 census figures, per capita retail spending in Pennsylvania was $13,323, but in Pike County it was $6,847. With limited shopping in the county, residents spend elsewhere.

By contrast, the 2007 per capita spending in New York was $11,879, but in Orange County, where there are malls and lots of stores, per capita spending was $15,228.

More stores, more spending.

While a grocery store may be welcome news for residents who are currently driving more than 15 miles for a carton of milk, the prospect of being able to buy clothing in the county could have an additional economic benefit.

“Pike County may currently not offer the range of options needed for suits and dresses, and therefore we know many people shop in neighboring counties. Apparel shopping is important, because when people shop for apparel, they don’t necessarily buy apparel, but they do other spending,” Sullivan said. “Apparel attracts people from a distance.”

Green Chair Interview: Mike Sullivan from the Pike County Economic Development Authority

Michael Sullivan from the Pike County Economic Development Authority takes a seat in the Green Chair and talks about sewers, bureaucracies and better jobs in Pike County.

(This is the first interview of our new series Interviews from the Green Chair. MilfordNow! will be interviewing notable and interesting people from our area, in the Conservatory at the Hotel Fauchere. On deck for the next interview: Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg. Stay tuned.)

MilfordNow! Michael, why don’t you start by telling me what your job title is and what you do now.

Michael Sullivan My official job title is Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA). I serve at the pleasure of the Board of Directors of the EDA. And I work pretty closely with the Pike County Commissioners also.

MN! You had left about a year ago.

Sullivan That’s correct.

MN! Where did you go?

Sullivan I worked for about six months at the Orange County Partnership. It’s a similar organization, only in Orange County, New York. And what I did over there was I worked on very large projects. It was interesting because Orange County has picked up a lot of big projects. In the short time I was there I worked on United Natural Foods, Inc., that was 500,000 square feet. I worked on Amy’s Kitchen which was 525,000 square feet and maybe 900 employees.

Interesting enough, with both of those projects as good examples, one of the things they required was treatment of a fluid. They’re going to use a lot of water. They’re going to be cleaning vegetables. They are going to be putting out a lot of water. And you need a sewer system. And therein is the first point is that I would say is important for us to discuss. What are the liabilities and what are the attributes of Pike County? And one of the liabilities is lack of sewer and water.

MN! So you left and came back.

Sullivan I did.

MN! When you left, we talked and you seemed frustrated with Milford and perhaps Pike County. What was the frustration based upon?

Sullivan I wouldn’t characterize it as frustration. It was a situation where, I am somewhat used to getting a lot of projects. And I really love the work I do. I honest and truly love the work I do. One of the things that’s tough about Pike County is that at the time I was spending all my time going to municipalities trying to talk them into things like The Pike County Tax Abatement Program. I was spending a lot of time doing that and I wasn’t getting to the work that I wanted.

Now we did have some notable successes. Including the selling of the Pike County Industrial Park. The idea of the Karhr Arms. Econopac. The LP Cylinder expansion. And Middletown Community Health Services was in process when I left. We had some notable progress. Still quiet compared to other locations.

MN! Why do you think it’s hard to do business here in Milford?

Sullivan I don’t think anybody knows about our attributes. And to let people know, to make noise in the marketplace, you have to do some advertising and marketing.

One of the other things that makes it difficult here–and I’m not down on Pike, I’m upbeat on Pike–is, it’s important that people to realize, we do have liabilities. 1/3 of Pike County is totally parkland, or federal land or game land or whatever it may be. I’m not a proponent of that. Int the sense that 1/3 of all the property that has been set aside are some highly developable sites.

It’s very difficult to find a site [for a business]. Also in Pennsylvania, there you have a situation where you have the requirement that you put a 150’ environmental area on each side of a stream. If you own an acre of land and have a stream coming down the middle of it, you cannot use that land, because a 150’ set back will take up about an acre and a half.

MN! Tell me about how we can innovate here and how the EDA is innovating here?

Sullivan The LERTA program. A tax abatement program. If you were going to Orange County, you could take advantage of a 15 year tax abatement. Pennsylvania started that, and it’s called Keystone Zones. Like New York, we need to be able to say [to business owners], come over to Pike County and you will get this, this, this and this.

MN! In addition to the lack of a sewer system in Milford, what are our other liabilities? And who ultimately is responsible for getting things going so there is more business in Milford?

Sullivan One side is the bureaucracy that focuses on the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection. Both, in my opinion, are rogue type environments that can’t be controlled by anybody.

The DEP will guarantee your business an answer in 107 business days, or 6 months–and the clock only starts after you submit a flawless application. And virtually nobody does that.

And this bureaucracy feels no pressure from anyone.

MN! So what do you love about Pike County?

Sullivan Everything. I really do. People are the loveliest people that you could ever imagine. I think the local governments are very, very cooperative. Extremely so. Accessible, cooperative. I’m a sucker for a slow, high, pitch. Meaning that, I’d like to really do something. I’m no longer looking for resume items on my resume. I’m going to be 68 years old this year. My thing is, I just want to do something noteworthy in Pike County. I like it and the people are very, very good. And I’d like to take advantage of the state taxation rate in comparison with New York and New Jersey.

MN! Where do you see Milford in the next 5 to 10 years? Do think it will look the same or be dramatically different, with more businesses here and more people are out in the evenings enjoying the town. Or will it be the same thing?

Sullivan No. Out of about 1,400 types of manufacturers, we’ve identified 60 that we can accommodate here. And can accommodate with some advantage. They are companies that don’t produce smoke. They are machine tools, they are fabricated metals and manufacturers of instruments. And what does that mean to Milford? It means that if we can get another 1,000 jobs, that will have more effect on the well-being of Milford than we can possibly do.

In this last great-recession we were hit in the most difficult position we could be in. All disposable, discretionary income vanished. And we were dependent on disposable, discretionary income. The idea is that we have generate our own disposable income, higher wages and more jobs. And develop an in-county clientele.

MN! Do you think there will be a sewer system here in Milford?

Sullivan I know Matt Osterberg is working on that right now. We would love to take the sewer system from Westfall and extend it all the way down to the borough.

MN! If that happened. What type of business expansion would we see?

Sullivan Milford is a sweet lovely place that people gravitate to. My wife and I come over from Orange County to eat at the Waterwheel. If you look at the Friends of the Library, look at how many people come from outside the county. They bring their commerce and their purchasing with them.

Many stores in Milford, went through the toughest time in the last four years. Many did not survive. But if we could generate our own buying capacity inside the county, where people have their own disposable income and they’re not making *$359 per week, they’re making $1,034, as I showed you, that’s what we’re hoping for. And the idea of the water and sewer would be very important.

MN! Thank you Michael. It’s sincerely appreciated.

Sullivan My pleasure, my pleasure.

Editors’ Note: Sullivan presented a report produced by the Bureau of Labor Statistics that illustrated the “Average hourly and weekly earning of all employees on private nonfarm payrolls by industry sector, seasonally adjusted.”

*Sullivan highlighted how Pike County’s primary private sector employment sector is Leisure and Hospitality, where for May 2014, average weekly earnings were $359.66. According to Sullivan, the EDA’s goal is to bring “Goods-producing” employment sector jobs to Pike County, as their May 2014 average weekly earning were $1,039.77.

Lack of land cripples job production in Pike County

By Beth Brelje, Pocono Record Writer, Monday, May 26, 2014

With 363,260 total acres of land in Pike County, one third, 118,738 acres, cannot be touched for job-producing business development.

Permanently preserved state forests, state parks, state game lands and National Park Service land take up 33 percent of the county’s real estate, said Mike Sullivan, executive director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority.

“That number grows as Pike County gets more land,” Sullivan said.

Since 2008, through the Pike County Scenic Rural Character Preservation Program, the county has spent some $5.9 million of county and state money to preserve more than 3,500 acres of land.

“At the EDA, we like green,” Sullivan said.

After all, one of Pike County’s largest employing industries is leisure and hospitality.

The pay stinks
The average hourly rate of pay in the United States for leisure and hospitality workers was $13.78 in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average weekly income was $361, indicating hospitality workers are not getting 40 hours of work.

“Pike is heavily married to the leisure and hospitality,” Sullivan said. “It is our task to increase the wages and diversify employment opportunities in Pike County.”

The EDA has identified more than 2,000 manufacturing businesses that don’t require significant sewer and water, have little environmental impact and can be sited on relatively small parcels of land around the county.

Manufacturing jobs offer better pay. In April, wages at manufacturing jobs averaged $24.72 per hour, and $1,006 a week.

“That is the reason we are looking at manufacturing,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan has been in talks recently with a New York business that wants to build a 35,000-square-foot building. It would bring 20 high-paying jobs to Pike, ranging between $40,000 and $80,000.

Slim pickings for buildable land
“I have less of a problem identifying these companies than I do finding suitable sites for them,” Sullivan said.

In addition to a large percentage of preserved state and federal land, which is somewhat unique to Pike County, there are the usual challenges of municipal zoning. All townships have areas zoned for residential, retail and a variety of other things.

Plus, there are hundreds of acres in Pike County that are preserved through the Clean and Green plan. In exchange for a promise not to develop the land, owners get a significant tax break. A buyer who would develop on Clean and Green land would have to pay the back taxes that the former owner avoided.

Of the parcels left in the proper zones for manufacturing, many are unusable because of rocky topography. Or the land may have a stream or wetland requiring that any building be setback so far that it won’t fit on the property.

“There are some, but very few sites, for commercial development, and that is an issue we are wrestling with; identifying and securing sites for the types of businesses we are recruiting,” Sullivan said.

A few solutions
Sullivan is asking for anyone with more than two acres of commercial land to contact him at the Pike County Economic Development Authority.

Also, the EDA is looking for investors to invest in industrial parks. The county is not spending any public money on land acquisition for industrial purposes, Sullivan said.

The 44 acres owned by Delaware Valley School District on Route 6/209 is now for sale.

“It might be interesting for an investor to buy and create six preapproved industrial and commercial building sites. They could get a nice return on those acres,” Sullivan said. “If we had six sites preapproved, we would use it as the center for our marketing program. I would focus on those sites.

“This is the big challenge we are faced with. It has always been the challenge of doing thoughtful economic development in Pike County.”

Pike county Economic Development Authority Director Mike Sullivan launched a marketing campaign

By Lisa Payne-Mickles

MILFORD – In a presentation last week, Economic Development Authority Director Mike Sullivan launched Pike |County’s new marketing plan to attract better paying jobs and increase the text base.

Sullivan told county commissioners that the nuts and bolts of the marketing plan is to identify potential customers and contact them through a series of four postcard mailings highlighting the benefits of locating to pike County.

Since the county has not been marketed on a national level as an appealing economic development area of many years and was dependent on the building and tourism industries, sustainability and job creation could prove difficult without taking on a new direction, especially since there already are economic downsides such as insufficient sewer, gas, internet and water lines, few locations without wetlands, and unfavorable zoning for commerce.

The county plans to attract smaller businesses that have low environmental impact and the ability to use individual septic systems and water from underground wells.

By sprinkling industrial and commercial businesses throughout the area, the tax burden on municipalities, school district and county would be minimized, since commercial uses cost less than 32 cents per dollar for services versus residential properties, whose expenses exceed each dollar taken in.

Sullivan said there is a fear that economic development would encroach on tourism, but one needs to remember that one third of the county is protected from development through state forests and game lands and the National Park Service.

He then presented sobering statistics on the wages earned through the leisure and hospitality industry, which are the lowest according to the most recent industry report, at $13.76 per hour versus manufacturing at $24.72 and durable goods (products that last more than three years) at $26.12 per hour.

On a high note Sullivan said they are currently in negotiations with a company that will provide at least 20 new jobs with annual salaries of $40,000 to $80,000.

He also said that the county has still not felt the effects of Kahrs Firearms in the Pike County Industrial Park in Blooming Grove, which is currently under construction and will provide the area with at least 100 new jobs.

This came about by highlighting Pennsylvania’s relatively low tax rates and regulations compared to surrounding states in the Northeast, lower costs in addition to great schools, close proximity to metro New York, and affordable housing.

Another key element in attracting new businesses is to welcome them and let them know that the county wants and values their business and that they are not just other unidentified commercial taxpayers.

The next board of commissioners meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 16 at 9 a.m. at the administration building in Mildford.

Postcards to target new business for Pike

By Peter Becker, Managing Editor, THURSDAY, APRIL 03, 2014

A new economic marketing strategy is underway in Pike County, seeking manufacturers that will benefit from what are described as Pike’s unique advantages for business.
Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) is sending a colorful series of four postcards to a list of 570 companies, hoping to spark a flame of interest that will mutually benefit the company and the people of Pike.

A new economic marketing strategy is underway in Pike County, seeking manufacturers that will benefit from what are described as Pike’s unique advantages for business.

Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) is sending a colorful series of four postcards to a list of 570 companies, hoping to spark a flame of interest that will mutually benefit the company and the people of Pike.

Michael Sullivan, Executive Director of Pike EDA, gave an update to the Pike County Board of Commissioners April 2nd. The County is supporting the strategy and funding the costs of the marketing program.

Chairman Richard Caridi cited the new effort as “a change in philosophy.” Rather than pursue a centralized business park with sewer and water facilities provided, they are looking for businesses that do not require the same degree of infrastructure, and locate them at various places across Pike.

The new campaign was detailed at a special dinner program hosted by the EDA on February 18th at Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Resort. Approximately 130 people attended.

New York and New Jersey-based companies are being targeted by the postcard campaign. Sullivan has quoted statistics revealing the economic advantages of locating to Pike County.

Among those attributes is Pennsylvania’s relative low tax rates and regulation; Pennsylvania’s ranking of business climate relative to New York and New Jersey; costs of labor, utilities and other expenses and high quality of life in Pike County. Sullivan also included, “the idea that we really want and value new businesses in Pike County; you are NOT just another unidentified commercial taxpayer here.”

The cards will be mailed two weeks apart to the same firms. Postcards, he said, are more likely to grab attention and less likely than a sealed envelope to be simply discarded. While the first card might generate no response, subsequent mailings are designed to gradually get the message across, that Pike County, PA is open for business.

The first card speaks of Pike’s highly qualified work force, great quality of life and lower costs that will aid in the company’s bottom line.

Card number two takes a quick look at comparative tax rates and how a business listed as an LLC, Sun-Chapter “S”, a sole proprietorship or partnership, will do better in Pennsylvania than in New York or New Jersey. Data from the Tax Foundation is cited, showing how tax rates for these businesses, individual tax rates, sales taxes and per capita property taxes are all lowest in Pennsylvania.

The third card talks about Pike County’s lower utility rates and invites the company to send their last bill.

Card number four shows a truck heading into Pike on the interstate, with a big green exit sign declaring, “Opportunities Ahead!” and the motto, “Pike County, Pennsylvania… Where BIG plans merge with BIGGER opportunities.”

Sullivan Praises Shohola For Spearheading Revitalization Effort

By Ken Baumel, THURSDAY, MARCH 20, 2014

SHOHOLA — Pike County’s Economic Development Authority (EDA) Executive Director Mike Sullivan considers Shohola Township’s approval of the Pennsylvania’s Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA) as the key ingredient to a new aggressive marketing plan to bring job-creating businesses to Pike.

Sullivan spoke at last week’s regular Shohola meeting, held at the township building on Twin Lakes Road, and in an interview after the meeting.

Shohola approved a LERTA resolution last year. Sullivan said that so far, five municipalities and the Delaware Valley and Wallenpaupack school districts have approved participating in LERTA.

Sullivan said that he would continue to knock on the doors of municipalities that have yet to commit to LERTA and the one remaining district in that serves Pike County, East Stroudsburg Area School District.

For the first time, the seven approvals opened the door for EDA to market in a more targeted way to companies that might want to come to Pike… for complete story, get this week’s issue.

Planning Pike's economic growth

By Peter Becker Managing Editor, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 20, 2014

Outlining stunning successes for Pike County’s economy in the last few months, remaining challenges and advantages Pike has to offer, a marketing campaign for new business has been put forth. The strategy was presented Feb. 18th by Michael Sullivan, Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA), at a special dinner at Ehrhardt’s Waterfront Banquet Center.

With full support of the Pike County Commissioners, the EDA will be sending a series of colorful postcards to almost 1,800 companies highlighting different aspects of why locating a business in Pike County would be to their benefit.

• • • Stream of headlights
Sullivan has recently returned to head the EDA again after six months as the business attraction director for the Orange County Partnership in New York. He cited copious data comparing economic vitality in Pike County and neighboring counties, including Orange where he said a large number of Pike residents head to work each morning. Approximately 15,000 people from Pike work elsewhere. He said early in the morning in Milford you can see the “stream” of headlights as people follow their commuting ritual away from home turf.

The long daily commute away from Pike County hurts the family structure as well as tax base, Osterberg noted. They are also bound to spend money where they are working rather than back home. It also means less volunteers available at home for emergency response. A full 53% of Pike’s labor pool works outside the county borders.

About 130 people were in the audience, including many business people, local government officials, engineers and property owners. The movement towards a strategic plan was boosted in November at an Economic Summit held in Matamoras, stated Commissioner Matthew Osterberg. Referring themselves as ambassadors of the County, the Commissioners and EDA is working to move Pike County forward. Existing businesses need to be assisted as well as new companies encouraged to locate here.

Although there is good news in the unemployment rate: the latest data showed an 8.8% rate compared to 10 or 11% in recent years, Pike County continues to relay heavily on two main industries, tourism and construction. The number of building permits issued has plummeted. Osterberg, calling the construction trade “flatter than flat”, said, “We have an unsustainable job market in Pike.”

About a quarter of Pike’s jobs are in the government sector; more private job producers are needed, the Commissioner stated.

• • • Like a revival meeting
Team work is needed. Osterberg likened the current push towards prosperity in Pike to a revival meeting. “We all need to get under the tent,” he said.

Recent good news in Pike County has include Kahr Arms’ purchase of the Pike County Business Park, announcement of a new company, Econo-Pak, plans to expand LP Cylinder and report of Middletown Health Center planning to locate in Milford.

Enhancing the Economy of Pike County, PA
Directed by the Pike County Commissioners and the Board of Directors of the Pike County Economic Development Authority
How thoughtful economic development can be used to enrich the well-being of Pike County residents and businesses.
Click Here To Download pdf
Overall Strategy for Economic Development Dinner

Discuss the competitive advantages and liabilities of Pike County, Pennsylvania as a potential site for relocating business. Learn about the specific types of businesses Pike County plans to attract and, how we plan to do it.
The Pike County Economic Development Authority (PCEDA) and Pike County Comissioners have created a comprehensive and ambitious economic development plan.this is designed to bring thoughtful and desirable economic growth along with new diversification of industry to our county. The plan itself will include a targeted marketing strategy, will not use public funds for land acquisition and will target facilities that are consistent with our infrastructure. Download pdf

Commissioner Matthew Osterberg
Representing the Pike County Commissioners

Michael Sullivan
Executive Director of Pike County EDA

5:30PM. FEBRUARY 18, 2014
Ehrhardt’s Waterfront resort
205 Route 507
Hawley, PA 18428
Call Tammy to PSVP by February 12th-570-296-7332

Sullivan is back, outlining Pike's economic progress

By Beth Brelje, Pocono Record Writer, THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014

PIKE COUNTY – Michael Sullivan, back in the saddle again as leader of Pike County’s Economic Development Authority, outlined his strategy for job creation in Pike.

Sullivan left Pike in May to take a job leading the Orange County Partnership in New York. But at the start of 2014, Sullivan was rehired at the Pike County Economic Development Authority.

The changes were for personal reasons and each time he left a position, it was on positive terms.

• • • Pike’s economic problems
Sullivan jumped right back into action by authoring a report, “Strategic steps to reinvigorate the Pike County economy.”

In it, he describes Pike County’s chief industries as home building and tourism, both hit hard by the recession.

To illustrate the loss of construction jobs, Sullivan’s report said that in 2004, Pike County issued 1,211 building permits, but in the first 11 months of 2013, just 68 building permits were issued in the county.

Earnings are lower in Pike where the average weekly wage is $599 compared to Monroe County at $778, according to March 2013 numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Pike’s economic promise
In the past year, three companies have made moves promising more than 600 jobs in Pike County. The expansion of LP Cylinders in Shohola brings an additional 35 jobs.

The sale of the business park in Blooming Grove Township to gunmaker Kahr Arms is complete and, in time, that will bring an additional 200 jobs.

Econo-Pak, one of the nation’s largest food repackaging firms, has moved into Milford Township and soon will bringing 400 more jobs to the region.

Instead of relying so heavily on construction and tourism jobs Pike needs to diversify job opportunities. Sullivan said.

• • • Pike’s plan to prosper
One roadblock to bringing new industry to the county is a lack of land with existing infrastructure: water and sewer and gas.

Sullivan plans to aggressively market Pike County to industries that are not big users of water and sewer. Industries that could be a good fit in Pike may be pharmaceutical, fabricated metal manufacturing, machine shops and electronics manufacturing.

At the same time, the authority will seek to develop infrastructure, including a sewer system along Routes 6/209, and in other areas of the county.

The authority will spend little or no public money for developing business parks, but instead encourage private investment in that type of real estate.

The authority also will treat the Sterling Business Park in Wayne County as its own, and promote it to potential businesses. It is just two miles from the Pike County border, right off Interstate 84, and an easy commute for many Pike residents.

EDA Chief Picks Up Where He Left Off In Pike County

By Lisa Mickles, THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 2014

MILFORD — After a six-month hiatus from Pike County, Mike Sullivan is back as the Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority (PCEDA). In June, Sullivan left his joint position as Director of both the Pike County Chamber and PCEDA to take a position in New York at the Orange County Partnership as their business attraction director.

In an interview, Sullivan said he is excited to be back in Pike County and plans on rolling out a new economic development program that will encourage, promote and facilitate “thoughtful” economic development activity and economic diversification in the county. In a nutshell that means attracting investors to the area with businesses that are not dependent on centralized water and sewer. Currently he is soliciting two local investors for industrial “park” property with the goal of encouraging them to develop the land as business and industrial parks. He exampled a perfect candidate to be a small electrical appliance manufacturing company since that type of business does not require the use of water for manufacturing purposes.

Sullivan said it is his intention to attract better paying jobs to the area since most of the jobs in Pike County are tourism, retail or home building related. So far, Sullivan was instrumental in bringing a buyer to the table to purchase the Pike County Business Park, expanding Shohola’s propane cylinder refurbishing business, all through the 5-year tax abatement program, as well as finding tenants for the Altec Lansing building. Once the businesses are fully operational it would bring 450 to 500 new jobs to the area.

Working in conjunction with the county commissioners, Sullivan has laid out a comprehensive plan called the Strategic Steps to Reinvigorate the Pike County Economy for 2014. The plan highlights the area, which is categorized as ideally situated within the tri-state area as a great place to live, work and raise children made up of small picturesque villages largely made up of owner-occupied houses and small town centers.

The plan noted how the county’s economy suffered because of the U.S. recession, which still continues today. It stated that in 2004 there were 1,211 building permits issued, with only 68 permits issued countywide for the first 11 months of 2013.

The first step of the process to aid in the county’s economic development program is marketing the area, which will include working with Realtors throughout the tri-state area as well as utilizing PP&L and Orange and Rockland Utilities since they use their affiliations with different economic development organizations. In addition, there will be a push to reach out to municipalities and other governmental agencies to define companies by location, size and growth factors and potential properties that might be feasible for business or industrial parks. Since much of the land in Pike County has been classified as gameland, state or federally owned, it limits the amount of property that can be developed.

“We want to encourage private ownership and investment in business and industrial parks,” said Sullivan. He went on to say that “the first beneficiaries that we should encourage are those who privately invest in developable lands. The goal here is to use little or no public money in developing this business and industrial parks… for complete story, get this week’s issue.

Sullivan, back at Pike post, outlines job-creation plans

By Beth Brelje, Pocono Record Writer, WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 8, 2014

Michael Sullivan, back in the saddle again Tuesday as leader of Pike County’s Economic Development Authority, outlined his strategy for job creation in Pike.

Sullivan left Pike in May to take a job leading the Orange County Partnership in New York. But at the start of 2014, Sullivan was rehired at the Pike County Economic Development Authority.

The changes were for personal reasons, he said, and each time he left a position, it was on positive terms.

Pike’s economic problems
Sullivan jumped right back into action by authoring a report, “Strategic steps to reinvigorate the Pike County economy.”

In it, he describes Pike County’s chief industries as homebuilding and tourism, both hit hard by the recession.

To illustrate the loss of construction jobs, Sullivan’s report said that in 2004, Pike County issued 1,211 building permits, but in the first 11 months of 2013, it issued just 68.

Earnings are lower in Pike, where the average weekly wage is $599, compared with Monroe County at $778, according to March 2013 numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Pike’s economic promise
In the past year, three companies have made moves promising more than 600 jobs in Pike County. The expansion of LP Cylinders in Shohola brings an additional 35 jobs.In the past year, three companies have made moves promising more than 600 jobs in Pike County. The expansion of LP Cylinders in Shohola brings an additional 35 jobs.

The sale of a business park in Blooming Grove Township to gun-maker Kahr Arms is complete and, in time, that will bring an additional 200 jobs.

Econo-Pak, one of the nation’s largest food repackaging firms, has moved into Milford Township and soon will bringing 400 more jobs to the region.

Instead of relying so heavily on construction and tourism jobs, Pike needs to diversify job opportunities. Sullivan said.

A plan to prosper
One roadblock to bringing new industry to the county is a lack of land with existing infrastructure: water, sewage and gas.

Sullivan plans to aggressively market Pike County to industries that are not big users of water and sewage. Industries that could be a good fit in Pike may be pharmaceutical, fabricated metal manufacturing, machine shops and electronics manufacturing.

At the same time, the authority will seek to develop infrastructure, including a sewage system along Routes 6/209, and in other areas of the county.


By James Walsh, Times Herald-Record, SATURDAY, JANUARY 4, 2014

GOSHEN — The Orange County Partnership starts the new year looking to replace Michael Sullivan, who resigned after six months as the agency’s director of business attraction to return to the Pike County, Pa., Economic Development Authority.

Sullivan, a longtime promoter of economic development in the region, has resumed being executive director of the Pike agency.

He cited “personal circumstances” for resigning at year’s end from the partnership.

“I loved the partnership, and I liked very much working in Orange County,” Sullivan, who lives in Deerpark, said Friday from his Milford, Pa., office. “But there were personal considerations that I don’t want to disclose… extenuating circumstances that had nothing to do with the partnership.”

Position brings jobs to county
Maureen Halahan, president and CEO of the partnership, said two candidates were being considered for the job, but a broader search was likely. The position involves generating leads on projects that bring employment to the county.

It has served as a launching pad of careers for people like Halahan and Meghan Taylor, Sullivan’s predecessor, who now heads the Putnam County Economic Development Corp.

Nearly 70 people applied before Sullivan was hired in May.

“It doesn’t take long (to fill) because it’s a very desirable position,” Halahan said. “But we want to take our time and be sure we find the right candidate.”

Upon hiring Sullivan, Halahan recalled he was her mentor when she was new to the partnership, and he was running a similar agency in Sullivan County.

“He was one of the best we ever had; a great worker,” Halahan said of Sullivan.

“He always worked well with the prospects, and he was a great member of our team.”

Sullivan’s familiar smiling face was still on the partnership’s website Friday almost like he’d never left, and it appeared prominently in a collage of photos on Pike’s site as well.

He spoke enthusiastically of opportunities and challenges to boost Pike’s development, and said he’d soon be discussing them with the board of the Economic Development Authority.

Yet, he said: “I truly miss Orange County and Maureen, and all the people who work there.”



LORDS VALLEY- The Blooming Grove Township Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the land development plan for Kahr Firearms Group, the New York gun manufacturing company that plans to build its corporate headquarters at the Pike County Business Park. At Monday night’s meeting, Chairman Randy Schmalzle expressed his pleasure on how well prepared and thorough the Kahr Firearms Group representatives were in outlining the land development plan that addresses only Lot 5 in the now vacant business park.

Kahr is proposing to construct a 40,000- square foot addition for both their corporate offices and manufacturing facility on the 12-acre parcel consisting of Lot 5 on the 146-acre property, which will remain mostly undeveloped due to the high environmentally sensitive areas. During a special hearing preceding their regular board of supervisors meeting, Kahrs attorney John Stieh and engineer Justin Hoffmann went through the entire process outlining the size and height of the building, storm water management practices, waste disposal, fire safety, security, noise and lighting, which coincides with the townships existing Subdivision and Land Development Ordinance (SALDO). Kahrs sought no waivers within the townships SALDO ordinance.

Attorney Toney Waldron hired by Camelot Forest residents, addressed several concerns raised by the private community since they sit directly across from the park located on Route 434 or Well Road. Waldron said the community had a concern about flooding relating to storm water management practices during and after construction due to earth disturbances since there would be tree clearing of the area for construction. There w3as also concern on whether or not the stumps and trees would be removed from the property. Hoffman explained that the contractor would either cart off the trees and stumps or possibly bring in a wood chipper to make mulch.

Hoffmann said they would not be burning the trees or stumps on the property. IN addition due to the stricter requirements by the PA Dept. of Environmental Protection ( DEP), they will be required not only to address the amount of runoff by directing the excess water during flooding or rain events through retention basins, buffers and culvert pipes, but also must protect the quality of the water emitting into the wetlands or drainage areas. Waldron also questioned how Kahr’s weapon testing would be conducted. Hoffmann explained that the testing of firearms would be held in an underground bunker, which could only be accessed from inside the facility and would have full security oversight. Other issues related to waste disposal, archeological findings and blasting during construction were also addressed. As far as waste removal for the manufacturing of firearms, which could include metal shavings, the material would be removed and disposed of in accordance with state and federal laws. While Stieh did not believe there would be a need for blasting, they agreed to inform the township and Camelot Forest residents if and when it would occur to help alleviate and deter any concerns about loud noises stemming from the property due to construction. Relating to archeological findings through research from the PA Historical and Museum Commission, no ancient artifacts are listed. In addition, if during construction, artifacts are uncovered, they are required by law to stop and contact the proper authorities. Since each stage of development for the property requires a conditional use hearing, Waldron sought confirmation from the supervisors that the Camelot Forests residents be kept appraised of any upcoming hearings. While the township is only required to advertise public hearings in the legal section of the newspaper and at the township building, the board agreed to their request. The BG Planning Commission, Pike County Conservation District, Pike County Planning all recommended the Land Development Plan for approval. The township is awaiting approval from DEP for the project to move forward. Stieh said in a private interview that the sale of the property for $2 million from the Pike County Economic Development Authority ( PCEDA), the owners of the property, would be contingent on all outside agency approvals.

In relating matters, the board approved revisions to the previously approved conditional use application relating to the purchase of a ladder truck in the amount of $100,000 for fire suppression at the park. Schmalzle said since the $100,000 requirement was written almost 10 years ago and could not pay for the entire purchase of a new truck, and because there are now shared agreements with other fire departments on how firefighting equipment is dispatched, the hearing will address coming up with a plan with the county involving how the money would be best suited for emergency services.

Pike County Economic Development Authority to hold Economic Summit

On Wednesday, November 13th, the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) will host its first-ever Economic Development Summit at 5:30PM at the Riverview Inn on Shay Lane in Matamoras.

Kathy Hummel, Chair of the EDA Board of Directors stated, “This is the perfect opportunity to share with the business community, elected officials and interested residents what we see as a spike in economic activity in the county. New business and new jobs are coming to Pike and this event will give the EDA the opportunity to explain why and how existing business can benefit.”

Ms. Hummel will be joined by a panel of experts including Commissioner Matt Osterberg, Realtor Dave Chant, Steve Yokimishym of the Governor’s Action Committee, Dave Nat of NEPA and Cynthia Defebo of the Workforce Investment Board.

Aileen M. Sullivan, Manager of Public Affairs for Orange & Rockland Utilities explained, “Orange & Rockland Utilities is pleased to sponsor this event in the interest of keeping the community informed.” A buffet dinner will be served ($22 in advance/$25 at the door) and a cash bar will be available. Please contact Tammy Savarese (570-296-7332) to make your reservation or for additional information.

Dingman supports county's tax abatement proposal

The Pike County Courier ,By Jerry Goldberg Published Oct 10, 2013

Dingman — Pike County Commissioners’ Vice-Chair Matt Osterberg attended the Oct. 1 supervisors’ meeting in Dingman to support a five-year tax abatement program to help businesses locate or expand in Pike County.

The Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Ordinance was proposed by Michael Sullivan, former executive director of the Pike County Development Authority. The program would apply only to new, incoming businesses that build new facilities, or to established businesses expanding their current facilities. The county commissioners and township supervisors said they are very interested in attracting new businesses for the new jobs they’ll bring. Supervisor Dennis Brink said he was concerned about the tax abatement being applied to home occupation businesses, which may induce some people to try to outsmart the program. “Someone could buy a new home, turn a portion of it into a home business, and then apply for a tax abatement incentive,” he said. Mincer said they’d be on the watch for scammers and deal with the problem if it arises. He stressed that the tax abatement, which would affect real estate taxes and school taxes, would apply only to the expanded part of a business, not its current tax bill.

Support from the school board and Pike’s municipalities is key to the program’s success. The school boards will have to agree to the abatement, since it will mean a slight reduction in the tax money they receive. Mincer has said that new businesses will eventually boost revenue through the creation of jobs, and add no children to the school roster.

Township OKs gun manufacturer zoning use

The News Eagle – By Peter Becker Managing Editor Posted Sep. 19, 2013

Kahr Arms, a major handgun manufacturer, received unanimous approval for their conditional use application Monday night by the Blooming Grove Township Supervisors. The firm intends to build a plant in the long-empty Pike County Business Park along Well Road, ultimately bringing as many as 80 jobs.
LORDS VALLEY — Kahr Arms, a major handgun manufacturer, received unanimous approval for their conditional use application Monday night by the Blooming Grove Township Supervisors. The firm intends to build a plant in the long-empty Pike County Business Park along Well Road, ultimately bringing as many as 80 jobs. Anticipating and getting a crowd, the hearing on Sept. 16th was relocated next door to the larger social hall of the Blooming Grove Firehouse. Numerous residents of Camelot Forest, a development right across the street from the business park, were in attendance. This hearing was restricted to the question if the proposed use of the property met the standards set in the Township Zoning Ordinance. Supervisors also had opportunity to place conditions, if deemed necessary, for the operation to meet the ordinance requirements and protect the health, safety and welfare of its residents.

••• Decided right away At the conclusion of the hour-long hearing, Chairman Randy Schmalzle said that the Supervisors have 45 days to decide on the application, adding, “it shouldn’t be that long.” Most everyone left, and the 7 p.m. regular Supervisors’ meeting began a half hour later. Under New Business, Schamlzle suddenly announced that they were ready to decide. The motion to approve the conditional use application was passed unanimously. He commended their own solicitor and the presentation made by attorney John T. Steih, who represented Saeilo Enterprises, Inc. (parent company of Kahr Arms) for the hearing. He said that Steih covered every concern the Supervisors might have had regarding meeting the standards of the zoning ordinance and there was no need to place conditions. The Pike County Business Park was created over 10 years ago and has never seen a tenant. Schmalzle said that the park was designed for light manufacturing, and this is a “very good example.”

••• Buying whole park He said the Supervisors have been very involved with the proposal and met with the applicants on site. The expectation by the company to buy the entire 620 acre park is a major feat, Schmalzle added. The company will both bring the park back on the tax rolls and create much needed jobs. Born and raised in the area, Schmalzle noted that there were 165 students in his graduating class; only about 20 remained in the area. He cited the lack of jobs in the area to keep people here. He said that he hoped that the arrival of this manufacturer would attract more companies to the park. Kahr Arms will occupy Lot 5; there are several more lots that have already been designed and approved for development, should Saeilo later provide for other business to come in. The company, Schmalzle said, will be eligible for the recently passed five-year gradual tax abatement under the Local Economic Revitlization Act (LERTA). Aimed at encouraging business development, the firm can receive a break on taxes for new construction, with the taxes phased in over that time frame. As presented at the hearing, Kahr Arms will be constructed in two phases. A 40,000 square foot rectangular building will be erected first, and later, a 20,000 square foot addition will extend the facility. John Borer, corporate counsel for Saeilo Enterprises, testified that corporate offices will locate here and firearms research and development will locate here first, Also planned are a retail store, web shop, light manufacturing and warehouse. Initially they will employ about 10 within in a year or so. Within four years, Borer said they expect to employ approximately 80 persons at the Pike County facility. Round-the-clock security will be provided. Borer affirmed this would include closed circuit TV monitoring and metal detectors operated by staff.

••• Realtor offers opinion Sale of the site is being brokered through David R. Chant Realtors, Pete Helms, Agent. Chant testified that it was his expert opinion that the project will be “quite beneficial” in that tax ratables would increase, jobs will be created and the local economy stimulated. Employees moving here would build or buy homes, adding to the tax base. He gave his opinion that there would be no adverse affect on adjacent properties, and property values should not be hurt. He added that question can be asked again when construction is underway. No undue burden would be placed on the Township, Chant suggested, noting Kahr will take care of its road and have its own security. Joan Dingee, a neighbor from across the road, questioned if their area would no longer be classified as residential and would taxes go up or down. Solicitor Whitner replied that the business park is in the Multiple-Use (MU) Zone, and questions about future taxes are “speculative,” Another neighbor, Vincent Coniglio, asked whether Chant is handling the sale – the solicitor replied this was not relevant to the hearing. Coniglio also said another realtor told him the property values at Camelot Forest would be hurt. The solicitor countered that this was here-say and could not be considered at the hearing. Rich Gyarmati, a retired postmaster from New Jersey, said that in his experience, when a township embraced new industry, they thrived more. Those that did not, declined.

••• Wooded buffer kept Justin Hoffmann, Civil Engineer with Kiley Associates, pointed out features on the plan map developed for the conditional use zoning request. The facility will be placed about 200 feet from Well Road, beyond the 150 foot buffer required by the Township. The wooded buffer will remain in place. The site will be accessed from Well Road on McKenna Drive. Deliveries will exit on Kim Coon Drive. The building is about 80 feet from the McKenna right-of-way and about 90 feet from Kim Coon, greater than the ordinance requires. An on-lot septic system will be installed. Although the business park has its own central waste disposal plant, the waste generated by this sole business will not be sufficient to operate the plant. Ultimately, the plan is to be able to use the central sewer facility. Parking is kept within the area on Lot 5. The lot is 12.63 acres. There will be no explosives, radioactive substances or electromagnetic disturbance on site. There will also be no vibrations or light glare. Details of the exterior lighting were not prepared for the zoning application. The plant will not employ smokestacks. Color of the exterior will conform to ordinance standards. Surface or ground water will not be contaminated. Refuse will be picked up by a hauler. Hoffmann also said that the storm water plan will be included with the land development plan. A state permit for erosion and sedimentation is also pending. After the meeting, Camelot Forest resident Bill Hawkins commented that he thought the arrival of Kahr Arms was a “good deal.” He said there shouldn’t be more traffic or noise than they have now. he said he was not concerned about the planned indoor firing range or if there was one outside. He said he would rather see a company come in and pay the taxes on the park rather than have the rest of the property owners make up for it. Joyce Grabler, Camelot Forest, commented that she is concerned about the impact from blasting on the site, on her foundation. She is also concerned about her well water. Another resident, who gave only her first name, Margaret, said she is concerned about water runoff, noise and truck traffic.

••• Another hearing to be set There were numerous questions from the audience on matters such as blasting required to prepare the site, noise and storm water runoff. Township Solicitor Shelli Whitner, however, instructed the audience about procedures and reminded that these questions would be addressed at a second hearing yet to be announced, once the applicant submits a land development plan application. She stressed that matters of opinion, including whatever one may think about the product the applicant makes, were not applicable to the hearing before them that night. Chairman Schmalzle stated after the vote was taken that he expected the land development plan hearing could take place in mid-November or early December. The applicant needs to submit the plan first to the Township Planning Commission. Residents with concerns about such matters as storm runoff, noise and other site matters, are welcome to attend the Planning Commission, and bring their questions to the hearing that the Supervisors will schedule, the Chairman said. He added that the public may also submit their questions or concerns in writing, if they are not comfortable with speaking at the hearing.

••• About Kahr Arms Kahr Arms is a USA based manufacturer of high-quality concealed carry pistols since 1994. Kahr is known for designing the smallest possible package in four defensive calibers – 9mm, .40 S&W, .45 ACP and the .380 ACP. Kahr Firearms Group was founded by Justin Moon. He is the sole owner of the firearms group which includes Kahr Arms, Magnum Research and Auto Ordnance. Kahr Arms bought Auto Ordnance, maker of the famous “Tommy Gun” in 1999. Kahr Firearms Group is a $75-$100 million corporation which employs 250 employees between its Pearl River, NY corporation office, Worcester, MA and Pillager, MN manufacturing plants along with several captive CNC machine shops also owned by the corporation. He became the CEO and President of Saeilo Enterprises in 1992. Moon is a son of the late Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church. Restrictive gun control laws in New York State have been cited as a reason the firm is relocating corporate offices to Pennsylvania. Once corporate offices are transferred to Pennsylvania, the Kahr Group of manufacturing plants, operating at full capacity, will continue production in their current locations in Worcester, MA and Pillager, MN, according to a Kahr press release. The business park is owned by the Pike County Industrial Development Corporation.

Food Repackager Moving to Altec Building

Pike County Dispatch By Patti Malzahn Thursday Sept. 19th

MILFORD — At the township supervisors’ meeting Monday night, North American Packaging LLC, dba Econo-Pak, one of the largest food repackaging companies in America, applied for conditional use to move some of their facilities from Sussex, NJ into the old Altec Lansing building. The Company provides packaging services of to Fortune 500 companies such as Kraft-Co, and for medium to small companies, such as Entemanns’s. In some cases, the company will take items such as Oreos, remove them from their packaging and repackage into smaller serving sizes. They also do bulk packaging and initial packaging. Entemann’s for example will send trays of muffins to be packaged as Little Bites. It saves companies such as Entenmanns and many others money because they don not have to buy equipment. It also saves the companies money because North American Packaging is non-union, and according to Peter Wievel, CEO of North American Packaging that ‘makes it cheaper.”

Wiebel came to the Milford Township Supervisors meeting Monday night to apply for a conditional use of the old Altec Lansing building. According to Township Secretary Viola Canouse, American Packaging is sub-leasing right now from the current occupant Kolmar, but there is a sale pending from the owner, so they will continue to sub-lease from Kolmar until the sale goes through. The conditional use allows North American Packaging to apply for any permits they might need while in the space the same way the building owner might. Canouse said they are in there renovating, but have not started production. The facility will be in operation 24 hours a day. The first and second shift has about 150 employees each while the third shift has between 30 – 80 employees. Almost all of the employees will be transfers from the old facility. Wiebel noted that many of them will be car-pooling and will only have 30-50 cartsin the parking lot during the day.

Since it is a 24 hour production, trucks will be coming to pick up product 24 hours a day. Weibel stated a better than average day would be 20 trucks, and 13 would be during the day. Production slows down at night, but it does not stop. In an effort to minimize any disturbance the trucks may cause, and be efficient as a business, the company uses a ” drop and hook” system. The company therefore, stores between 60 and 75 trailers on site, and will use them as needed. When the trucks arrive, they will drop off their trailer and goods, and attach an outgoing trailer already filled. This allows trucks to come and go so quickly, and minimizes idling times.

Food packager moves to Altec Lansing plant in Milford
By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Writer September 18, 2013

A major packaging company, Econo-Pak, is buying the former Altec Lansing building in Milford for an undisclosed amount and bringing about 400 jobs to Pike County. Township supervisors Monday approved a conditional use application requested by North American Packaging of Sussex, N.J., doing business as Econo-Pak, which repackages food. A conditional use application was needed because the company intends to operate 24 hours a day. “Fortune 500 companies send us the food, and we reconfigure it,” Econo-Pak CEO P.J. Wieble said. Food companies may send bulk crackers, and Econo-Pak converts them into smaller packages and sometimes those packages are sold as variety packs. The foods are sold across the country in large club, convenience and grocery stores. In Milford, Econo-Pak will handle cookies, crackers, muffins and candy from well-known manufacturers. Some 15 to 25 trucks a day will travel to the Milford location from Interstate 84. The company employs some 400 employees. The move to Milford will mean they will have the opportunity to work in Pennsylvania, Wieble said. Current employees will be offered positions in Pike. And for those who choose not to relocate, that will create job openings in Milford. Wieble declined to say what the typical pay is. “We probably have seven managers from Pike. We already have strong roots in Pike County,” he said. Typical jobs at Econo-Pak include machine operators, quality control, line leaders, production workers, supervisors and mechanics. The company aims to move into the Milford building in late November. Before that, it will hold a job fair in late October or early November. Look for signs on the property advertising the job fair. The move is happening because the company plans a retail business at its current New Jersey site. The move will enable Econo-Pak to put two of its current operations under one roof, Wieble said.
Pike County residents express approval, caution at gun maker's hearing

By RICARDO MORALES For the Pocono Record September 18, 2013

A conditional use hearing for Kahr Firearms Group, a New York gun manufacturer planning to build its new headquarters in Pike County’s 620-acre business park, drew more than 50 people Monday night, many in support of the proposed 40,000-square-foot facility. Tammy Gillette, a resident of Blooming Grove Township, held a poster that read, “Welcome Kahr.” “Seeing this industry move in really excites me as a parent,” said Gillette, adding that her two daughters in college may someday choose to live locally if companies like Kahr Firearms sufficiently improve the Pike County economy. Ralph Lenzi, another Blooming Grove resident, said the new facility will benefit the area by making the entire business park, which has been empty for years, taxable. “(The building) shouldn’t disturb anybody,” Lenzi added, though he said the hearing was “very limited.” At the hearing, questions regarding specific construction plans, including the size of parking lots, use of dynamite or concern with water runoff, were deferred until a land development hearing, which will take place at a later date. Saeilo Enterprises Inc., parent company of Kahr Firearms Group, outlined benefits the facilities would bring to the township. Over the course of four years, the initial headquarters and eventual research and retail facilities should bring about 80 new jobs to the area, said James Borer, corporate counsel.

Davis Chant, a real estate broker who testified on behalf of the company, said not only will the building increase the tax base, but the employees who move into the area as a result of the plans will purchase homes nearby and contribute taxes as well. Joan Dingee had concerns that were mostly related to the construction plans. “I have lots of questions,” said Dingee of Blooming Grove. “Main question: Are they going to be a good neighbor, or will this be a nightmare?” Chantelle Andrews of Dingman Township was optimistic. “I think it will benefit this entire county greatly,” she said. “Can you imagine the spillover effect?” The facility will likely provide work for other local businesses, particularly in concrete and other construction, she added. “As a longtime taxpayer, I’m thrilled.” Saeilo Enterprises purchased the entire Pike County business park for $2 million earlier this year. Beyond the 40,000-square-foot facility, the conditional use plans allow for a 20,000-square-foot addition. The company is moving its headquarters to Pike County in order to escape an unfriendly gun climate in New York.

Food repackager to buy Altec site North American Packaging of Newton says it's ready for move to Milford

Pike County Courier By Charles Reynolds,Published Sep 11, 2013 at 11:11 pm

MILFORD — The largest food repackaging company on the East Coast wants to buy the old Altec Lansing building in Milford Township. North American Packaging came before the township planning commission seeking a conditional use permit for its Econo-Pak division, which will be repackaging cookies, cakes and candy. The company’s two biggest clients are Kraft and Bimbo. The commission held a special meeting Sept. 10 to hear P.J. Wiebel, one of the owners, make his request. The family-owned business is 35 years old and located in Newton, N.J. “A move to Milford is very attractive to us,” Wiebel said. The township had earlier granted North American a permit for the building on Routes 6 and 209. But when the company wanted to operate 24 hours a day, with three shifts, the commission asked for more information. Milford Township Supervisors are expected to hold a conditional use hearing on Monday evening, Sept. 16. Owner: Food strictly regulatedWiebel said government agencies hold the company to the highest standard because it handles food. Strict regulations govern security, safety, training, noise, and cleanliness, he said. A company representative said the facility was required to have a separate generator room to buffer sound, so that little or no noise leaks into the neighborhood.

The company is committed to moving as soon as possible, Wiebel said. It has entered into a purchase agreement obligating the company to pay rent until the sale is completed if not accomplished by the date they plan to be up and running, he said. In addition, North American will: Place 50 trailers on the lot, which can handle up to 75 Not use the exit on Old Milford Road, disqualified by the FDA’s Food Defense requirements Put 150 employees on the first shift, 150 on the second, and about 45 on the third Use Route 6 and 209 for truck traffic coming from the east, with no trucks through Milford Borough Commission members said the company not only met the permit requirements, but was a good fit for the community as well. Wiebel said he intended to hire 50 to 75 new employees over the course of the first year. In April, unemployment in Pike County was 10.2 percent. “Our goal is to grow,” Wiebel said.

Kahr announces relocation to Pennsylvania from New York, blames SAFE Act

8/08/13 | by Daniel Terrill |

Kahr Firearms Group announced Wednesday that it will relocate its corporate offices from New York to Pennsylvania, and blames New York’s Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act as reason why. “We’re looking for a more friendly environment for our business,” Frank Harris, Kahr’s vice president for sales and marketing, told the Associated Press. “Maybe we could have stayed here and built a plant, but the way the bill was passed left us feeling there were a lot of uncertainties going forward.” Kahr is the first gun company to announce that it will move out of New York. It’s relocating its 10-person corporate staff to Pike County, Pennsylvania, next year, the AP reported. Since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, lawmakers have pushed for new gun control laws. As a response, numerous gun companies have teased the idea of relocating out of states where new gun laws pass, but only a handful have officially announced or done anything. In July, Kahr announced that it purchased 620-acres in Pennsylvania to build and open a new factory within the next five years (and hinted that it would move its corporate offices, too). With the expansion, the company aims to add 80 to 100 new jobs. Development of the new facilities is slated for later this year.

In addition to the corporate offices in New York, Kahr has factories in Massachusetts and Minnesota. In all, Kahr Firearms Group owns four gun companies: Kahr Arms, Auto Ordnance, Thompson and Magnum Research. Even though most of Kahr Arms’ products — finely tuned concealed carry pistols — would be legal to own under the SAFE Act, several products produced under Kahr’s other brands, such as the Thompson’s “Tommy gun” or Magnum Research’s “Desert Eagle,” would create issues for New York gun owners. The SAFE Act includes measures such as an “assault” weapons ban, gun registry, bullet tax, limit magazine loads to seven rounds and new mental health checks. The recently enacted law was written under the guidance of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and state representatives had three days to review the bill before the governor signed it into law Jan. 15. Many believe, including some lawmakers, that the bill was not adequately reviewed and since it was signed into law certain parts have been revised, such as adding an amendment so law enforcement officers would be exempt from certain measures such as magazine limits. Needless to say, the law has been widely contested by gun rights advocates. “We’re all for stopping criminals, but this act is not going to do that,” Harris said. “This will only hurt the responsible law-abiding citizens.” In reference to Kahr moving, he added, “The Safe Act has unintended consequences and this is one of them.”

Another Gun Maker Says Farewell to Tough Restrictions

By Rich Duprey | The Motley Fool August 8, 2013

Yet another gun manufacturer is voting with its feet, and leaving a state because of its overreach on regulation. Instead of opening a new facility in Orange County, N.Y. with 80 to 100 new jobs, Kahr Firearms Group will instead relocate over the Delaware River into Pike County, Penn. Earlier this year, a number of Connecticut gun makers announced their intention to pick up and move their facilities out of state when politicians there enacted some of the strictest gun laws in the country. PTR Industries announced it was leaving for the more welcoming climes of Myrtle Beach, S.C., as did Stag Arms, which is deciding between South Carolina and Texas. It’s a movement still gaining steam, with manufacturers leaving oppressive states for those offering more freedom. Texas, in particular, has been vocal about welcoming gun makers, and is one of the locations Magpul Industries is considering as it plans to vacate Colorado. New York’s new anti-gun law expands a ban on military-style weapons, requires mental-health professionals to report perceived threats, limits magazines to seven bullets, taxes bullets, and creates a gun registry. New Jersey’s Gov. Christie also just signed a group of new gun laws, though the more controversial (and restrictive) ones are still on his desk. Kahr said it could have stayed in New York and built a new plant, but, “We’re looking for a more friendly environment for our business.”

Not every firearms manufacturer is pulling up stakes, however, preferring to be more wishy-washy about their feelings. Beretta thought about leaving Maryland, but instead, said that if it created any new jobs, they would be made out of state. Remington Arms, part of Freedom Group, the amalgamation of gun companies that Cerberus Capital Managment dumped after the Sandy Hook shootings, posted on its Facebook page that it still needs to mull over whether it wants to move. While some suspected a quid pro quo after it received an $80 million Defense Dept. contract within days of meeting with a group of state politicians, Remington said the deal was years in the making, and has nothing to do with its decision to stay or go. Similarly, Sturm, Ruger (NYSE: RGR ) and Colt Defense have not indicated any intention of leaving Connecticut, while Smith & Wesson Holdings (NASDAQ: SWHC ) seems content to remain nestled in Massachusetts, despite its restrictive gun laws. Undoubtedly, the decision to leave a state is not so simple as packing up a few boxes and some furniture. And while some gun makers may disagree with the proliferation of gun-control laws, they’re actually doing brisk business because of them. Smith & Wesson reported record sales last quarter as revenues surged 42%, and profits quadrupled from the year-ago period. Ruger’s profits nearly doubled, and ammo maker ATK would have had even better results after reporting strong demand in sporting groups demand, but a decline in defense sales led to relatively flat revenues. While the big name gun slingers have yet to protest the attack on their livelihood, the industry still has a target on its back. But the constant drip from smaller firearm makers does add up until it becomes a torrent that can’t be held back when the dyke finally bursts open

Kahr Firearms Group Blames New York Gun Control Law For Pennsylvania Move

Huffington Post By JIM FITZGERALD 08/07/13

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — A firearms manufacturer in New York, partially blaming the state’s new gun control law, said Wednesday it’s moving its corporate offices – and its plans for expansion – to Pennsylvania. Kahr Firearms Group of Pearl River is the first gunmaker to announce it’s leaving because of the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act, which was put into law after closed-door negotiations in January. It was the first law in the nation prompted by the killing of 20 first-graders and six educators in Newtown, Conn., in December. “We’re looking for a more friendly environment for our business,” said Frank Harris, Kahr’s vice president for sales and marketing. “Maybe we could have stayed here and built a plant, but the way the bill was passed left us feeling there were a lot of uncertainties going forward.” “Why take a chance when we can be in a state where they’re not looking to cause us any problems?” Harris added. Calls to Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office were not immediately returned. Kahr is owned by Kook-Jin Justin Moon, a son of Unification Church founder Rev. Sun Myung Moon. Harris said Pennsylvania’s enthusiasm also fueled the decision to leave New York. He said Kahr has purchased 620 acres in Pike County, Pa., and will move its 10-person corporate staff next year after building offices. Kahr also expects to build a new factory there – with 80 to 100 jobs – within five years. It currently has plants in Worcester, Mass., and Pillager, Minn., Harris said.

Kahr had been close to finalizing a deal for land in Orange County, N.Y., with room for expansion, until the gun control law was enacted, he said. New York’s law expands a ban on military-style weapons, requires mental health professionals to report threats, limits magazines to seven bullets, taxes bullets and creates a registry. It’s been widely attacked by gun rights advocates. “We’re all for stopping criminals, but this act is not going to do that,” Harris said. “This will only hurt the responsible law-abiding citizens.” Referring to his company’s moving plans, he said, “The Safe Act has unintended consequences and this is one of them.”

Kahr® Firearms Group Plans Major Expansion in Pennsylvania

Rockland County Times July 17th 2013

Not only is Kahr Firearms Group fleeing Rockland County, NY to friendlier pastures in Pennsylvania, they are taking a major corporate expansion and the jobs that will produce with them. Earlier this month Kahr had cited the sudden enactment of the NY SAFE Act, without so much as debate and consideration of opposing points of view, as the primary impetus for the move.

Kahr revealed this week they are engaged in discussions with a development group representing Blooming Grove Township of Pike County Pennsylvania, to open a new manufacturing site and relocate the Kahr corporate office from New York to Pennsylvania. Kahr’s corporate offices are currently located in Pearl River. Kahr’s plans include the purchase of 620 acres of commercial real estate from the Pike County Industrial Park Development Group/Business Development Corporation. The first step in the multi-phased plan will begin with site preparation and office construction as early as late this year. This will be followed by the relocation of company corporate offices and the research and development department. In the second phase, manufacturing operations will be expanded to the Pike County location to meet the increasing demand for its Kahr Arms, Thompson, Auto-Ordnance, and Magnum Research product lines.

The Kahr Group of manufacturing plants, operating at full capacity, will continue production in their current locations in Worcester, MA and Pillager, MN. “We are grateful for the warm welcome and the business opportunity extended by the Pike County Industrial Park Development Group/Business Development Corporation to expand our company and relocate its headquarters office,” stated VP of Sales and Marketing, Frank Harris. “The Pennsylvania group has demonstrated tremendous support of our operations and Kahr looks to move forward with the project without delay. It’s good for our business and also for other businesses in the area as we build a long-term mutually beneficial relationship with the community. We anticipate generating significant numbers of revenue and jobs for the local Northeastern Pennsylvania economy with the construction of facilities, expansion of manufacturing, and need for local vendors.”

Kahr to Move HQ from NY to Pennsylania
Gun News, Posted by Editor on Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Kahr Firearms Group is engaged in discussions with a development group representing Blooming Grove Township of Pike County, Pennsylvania, to open a new manufacturing site and relocate the Kahr corporate office from New York to Pennsylvania. Kahr’s corporate offices are currently located in Rockland County in Pearl River, New York. Kahr’s plans include the purchase of 620 acres of commercial real estate from the Pike County Industrial Park Development Group/Business Development Corporation. The first step in the multi-phase plan will begin with site preparation and office construction as early as late this year. This will be followed by the relocation of company corporate offices and the research and development department. In the second phase, manufacturing operations will be expanded to the Pike County location to meet the increasing demand for its Kahr Arms, Thompson, Auto-Ordnance, and Magnum Research product lines. The Kahr Group of manufacturing plants, operating at full capacity, will continue production in their current locations in Worcester, MA and Pillager, MN. “We are grateful for the warm welcome and the business opportunity extended by the Pike County Industrial Park Development Group/Business Development Corporation to expand our company and relocate its headquarters office,” stated VP of Sales and Marketing, Frank Harris. “The Pennsylvania group has demonstrated tremendous support of our operations and Kahr looks to move forward with the project without delay. It’s good for our business and also for other businesses in the area as we build a long-term mutually beneficial relationship with the community. We anticipate generating significant numbers of revenue and jobs for the local Northeastern Pennsylvania economy with the construction of facilities, expansion of manufacturing, and need for local vendors.”
Gun maker considering Pike County Business Park
The River Reporter , By Kevin Kearney June 26, 2013

BLOOMING GROVE TOWNSHIP, PA — A Rockland County, NY gun manufacturer is looking to relocate and expand into Pennsylvania due mainly to increased production and stricter New York State gun laws, company officials said. They said they hope to break ground in Blooming Grove Township later this year and employ local residents. Kahr Firearms Group of Pearl River hopes to purchase the dormant Pike County Business Park, a 620-acre tract, for reportedly $2 million. About 146 acres would be used for a 40,000-square-foot building to house the company’s corporate headquarters. The company has already hired two engineering firms and is interviewing local candidates to fill an operations manager position, said Frank Harris, Kahr’s vice president of marketing. He added that the company hopes to employ between 80 and 100 people at the proposed facility. The township supervisors have approved minor revisions to the covenants and restrictions for the industrial park. “Everything is moving along smoothly,” said another Kahr spokesperson, Sheryl Gallup, though she cautioned that “this is not a done deal yet.” Harris said the relocation would involve only the corporate headquarters in New York. The expansion would consist of the construction of a manufacturing plant in the Pike business park. The company currently has two manufacturing plants, in Massachusetts and Minnesota, and those are staying put, Harris said. The first step in a multi-phased plan would be site preparation, clearing of trees and office construction, which could happen late this year, according to a news release. That would be followed by the relocation of company corporate offices and the research and development department. In the second phase, manufacturing operations would be expanded to the business park to meet the increasing demand for Kahr’s products, Thompson, Auto-Ordnance and Magnum Research. “We have to keep up with the demand,” Gallup said. The “unreasonable” gun laws in New York also are a driving force for the proposed move, Harris said. He said the company had been researching a property in rural New York for its expansion when the new state gun laws went into effect. The laws in part expanded the definition of an assault rifle, reduced the number of magazines from 10 to seven, and placed more restrictions on purchasing ammunition. “It had a very large impact on us,” Harris said.
Gun maker likes Pike Pike close to deal, despite ongoing Facebook contest
The Pike County Courier By Joshua Rosenau Published June 21, 2013 at 2:09 pm (Updated Jun 21, 2013)

BLOOMING GROVE — Kahr Arms, a firearms maker specializing in the P9 pistol and Thompson submachine gun, is close to inking a deal to buy a long-dormant business park in Blooming Grove, officials said. But Kahr said the public would decide its new location through a contest on its Facebook page (see sidebar). To participate, the company requires users to give Kahr access to personal data and friends lists. The winning contestant was promised a free gun. The contest continues through June 30. But after learning about the Pike deal, some Kahr fans called the company out. “My entry is in,” posted Facebook user John England on June 21. “I voted for North Carolina and I want my free gun! :<) But I read that Kahr has purchased the Pike County Business Park in Pennsylvania where there is more than enough room to move and expand the entire business group. So it looks like the decision has already been made. So what's up with that?" Kahr's spokesperson Frank Harris did not return calls for comment. Current employees to fill jobs at first The 600-acre industrial park has about 320 buildable acres along Well Road in the township. Officials did say how large a footprint the Kahr Arms building might have. "The impact is that we were able to sell the entire business park, assuming this all goes through," said Kathy Hummel of the Pike County Economic Development Authority. Currently based in Pearl River, N.Y., the company is expected to bring between 70 and 80 jobs to start, but that number should grow over time to between 200 and 300, Hummel said. "It will bring jobs is the number one benefit," she said. "We had one of the highest percentages of unemployment in the state, and this will go a long way to help create jobs in the area." Hummel said Kahr intends to build a manufacturing plant. Most of Kahr's current workforce will staff the new location, with the company hiring more local people as it grows. "I am sure it will provide jobs for people in this area," Hummel said. Pike County Commissioner Matt Osterberg agrees. "Finally, after 16 years, we’ve finally gotten a developer to buy the office park who will bring jobs to the area," he said. Demand drives expansion Recent mass shootings, especially the massacre of 20 first-graders and six adults in Newtown, Conn., last December, have sparked a furious national debate about gun control. In announcing its intended expansion, Kahr referred to "challenging" times and "high demand." Hummel said she was not concerned about welcoming Kahr to Pike. "I think it’s a good fit for the county, for the company and for the business park," she said. "It’s a legal business, and I don’t have a concern with it." Kahr's history Kahr Arms is a subsidiary of Saeilo Enterprises, Inc., which specializes in precision manufacturing of metals, according to the company's website. In 1992, the company came under the control of CEO Justin Moon, son of Sun Myung Moon — the charismatic leader and self-proclaimed messiah of the Unification Church. In 1999, Kahr Arms purchased Auto-Ordinance, the company that held the license to manufacture the Thompson submachine gun, nicknamed the "Chicago typewriter" for its association with gangsters during the Prohibition era. It also hold right to s a model of the government-issued .45 caliber pistol.
Kahr Arms Leaving New York Due to Gun Laws
Guns Save Lives , From Blog , June 26, 2013

Kahr Arms, a gun manufacturer mainly known for their slim, lightweight pistols designed for concealed carry, has announced they will leave the state of New York due to the states recent passage of the SAFE Act. According to the Pocono Record, Kahr is looking to purchase an entire 620 acre business park in Pike County, PA for around $2 million. Company spokesman Frank Harris said that Kahr was ready to work out a deal in NY, but once the SAFE Act was passed they knew they couldn’t stay in a state that was so hostile to gun rights. According to Harris, Kahr will bring around 100 jobs to Pike County along with a large economic impact. The company’s business is currently booming with manufacturing being backlogged a full year. Sales are currently in the $75-100 million range. According to the Pocono Record, “We were ready to sign a deal in rural Orange County, N.Y. But when the governor passed stricter gun control, it made it tough to continue on that path, so we jumped over the river,” Harris said. “New York has become very unfriendly to people in the gun business. We feel like we are being treated like criminals in New York. That is one of the reasons we are coming to Pennsylvania.” Kahr would use some of the business park in Blooming Grove for its own purposes, and sell some lots to other manufacturers, said Pete Helms of Chant Real Estate who is handling the deal.
Blooming Grove firearms plan moves forward
The River Reporter , By Kevin Kearney July 10, 2013

BLOOMING GROVE TOWNSHIP, PA — Township supervisors have approved revisions to subdivision maps submitted by Kahr Firearms Group, which is looking to set up corporate offices and a manufacturing plant in the dormant Pike County Business Park. Kahr attorney John T. Stieh of Milford, approached the supervisors at their July 1 meeting, saying the maps from 2004 did not have the measurements and bounds descriptions to define the lot locations. The approval was unanimous and the revised maps will be recorded with the county mapping department. Kahr, currently located in Pearl River, NY, is looking to keep 13 lots, located in highly sensitive environmental areas, undeveloped, while utilizing lots one through seven as part of a phase-one project to relocate the corporate offices and construct a manufacturing facility. The sewage treatment lot also will be included as part of the preliminary plans. Kahr must now take its plans before the planning commission. If all goes smoothly, a conditional use hearing will be held before the supervisors in late August, Stieh said. Supervisor Randy Schmalzle voiced his approval of the project. “It’s fantastic,” he said. “It will bring good jobs to the area and enhance our tax base.” The company has already hired two engineering firms and is interviewing local candidates to fill an operations manager position. The company hopes to employ between 80 and 100 people at the proposed facility. The first step in a multi-phased plan would be site preparation, clearing of trees and office construction, which could happen late this year, according to a news release from Kahr. That would be followed by the relocation of company corporate offices and the research and development department. In the second phase, manufacturing operations would be expanded to the business park to meet the increasing demand for Kahr’s products, Thompson, Auto-Ordnance and Magnum Research. There also is talk about the possibility of constructing an indoor firing range, Stieh said.
Gun maker eyes HQ in Pike County Entire business park considered for move to gun-friendly Pa.

By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Writer June 20, 2013

A gun manufacturer is considering buying the entire 620-acre Pike County business park for $2 million to escape an unfriendly gun climate in New York. Kahr Firearms Group would move its corporate headquarters from in Pearl River, N.Y., to Pike County, bringing a some 100 jobs, company spokesman Frank Harris said. Some jobs will be temporary construction, others will be administrative and manufacturing. The business would be built in phases. Already the company has hired engineering, legal and real estate firms to work on the project. It is conducting an executive search for an operations manager to oversee the building phase. “This land has a lot of woods. We have to clear the land and put in foundations. An operations manager will handle that and hire construction people,” Harris said. The first phase in Pike will begin with site preparation, clearing of trees and office construction as early as late this year. This will be followed by the relocation of company corporate offices and the research and development department. Some company executives who will work at the new offices have already purchased homes in Pike County, Harris said. In the second phase, manufacturing operations will be expanded to the Pike County location to meet an increasing demand for the Kahr Arms, Thompson, Auto-Ordnance and Magnum Research product lines.

High demand Business is booming. The company website advises customers that due to high demand, delivery times on firearms and high-capacity magazines will vary and may take as long as six months for new orders. Manufacturing is backlogged about a year, as are other gun makers, Harris said, although the company manages to send a little bit of product to all of its customers. Kahr Firearms Group was founded in 1994 by Justin Moon, the son of the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, founder of the Unification Church. Today the private company sells between $75 million to $100 million in firearms and accessories annually, Harris said. Since 2001, sales have grown annually by 10 to 15 percent, Harris said. That is why for two years, Kahr had been in talks to buy land for a manufacturing facility in New York. After the Newtown school shootings in December, the company saw some panic buying as there was talk of stricter gun control laws. Harris said the growth then jumped to 25 percent. New York unfriendly “We were ready to sign a deal in rural Orange County, N.Y. But when the governor passed stricter gun control, it made it tough to continue on that path, so we jumped over the river,” Harris said. “New York has become very unfriendly to people in the gun business. We feel like we are being treated like criminals in New York. That is one of the reasons we are coming to Pennsylvania.” Kahr would use some of the business park in Blooming Grove for its own purposes, and sell some lots to other manufacturers, said Pete Helms of Chant Real Estate who is handling the deal. The company signed a 60-day contract with the Pike County Economic Development Authority and the Business Development Corporation, during which the company will seek permits and approvals, and have engineers look at the property, Pike County EDA President Kathy Hummel said. The company plans an indoor shooting range to test equipment. “I think it is a perfect fit. I believe they are going to be good neighbors,” Hummel said. The Kahr Group of manufacturing plants, operating at full capacity, will continue production in their current locations in Worcester, Mass., and Pillager, Minn. The business park land has been off the tax rolls since 1996, Pike Commissioner Matt Osterberg said. This deal will finally get that land generating taxes again. “This will go a long way in helping unemployment in Pike County,” Hummel said.

School Board Approves Shohola Tax Abatement Plan
Pike County Dispatch , Thursday April 25, 2013 By Lisa Mickles

SHOHOLA — Delaware Valley School Board voted last Thursday to participate in the Pike County Tax Abatement Program for Shohola Township only. Eight of the nine board members were present when the question was called. Director Chuck Pike voted no with Director Pam Lutfy abstaining. Director Sue Casey was pessimistic that the tax abatement program would work but voted yes with regret. Remaining directors President Bill Greenlaw, Directors Sue Schor, John Wroblewski, Zachary Pearce, and Bob Goldsack voted in favor of allowing the five-year tax abatement program on new commercial development or expanding existing businesses within Shohola Township. Director Jack Fisher, who has been an opponent of approving any type of tax abatement program, was not present. The board has been discussing the Pike County Tax Abatement Program that exempts assessed valuation of improvements on new construction of industrial, commercial, and other business properties within the boundaries of Shohola Township. DVSD can vote to approve other municipalities’ requests on a case by case basis. Wallenpaupack Area School District (WASD) already approved participating, and Lackawaxen and Blooming Grove townships, which are located within WASD, already showed interest.
IN OUR OPINION- Pike Economy Needs a Boost

Pike County Dispatch , Thursday March 21, 2013

The economy is stuck in Pike County. Parking lots at Lowe’s Home Depot and Luhr’s sit empty because builders are not throwing up new houses. The county’s’ unemployment rate hovers around 11 percent, among the highest in the state. Now comes word that the population of Pike, long one of the fastest growing counties in the U.S. , dropped by about 700 over the past two years. Gone are the days when urban refugees in the aftermath of 9-11 spiked the local economy. Not only did they seek to settle here and build new houses, but they also increased the demand for sophisticated products and services and brought entrepreneurial and professional skills that altogether boosted our economy. But those shots of adrenalin have long since worn off.

Besides, in the aftermath of 9-11, financial wizards, seeking to get a shocked economy moving again, loosened up the credit supply, which was partly responsible for the real estate boom and bust here and elsewhere. That too has evaporated. Mortgage rates are at a long-term low, but qualifying is much harder, and many homeowners’ are underwater on their existing mortgages. One regional real estate broker says what growth there is stems from local people buying first homes, not from potential exurbanites, who can’t unload their existing homes for the asking price. Another trend identified in the new regional demographic in that people are increasingly less willing to endure long commutes to get to work. They want jobs here, not 75 miles from here.

One ray of hope for economic growth is the tax abatement plan proposed by Mike Sullivan, Director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority. In an effort to create more local jobs, the EDA offers a tax abatement plan for new construction or improvements of property in designated commercial areas. The problem with this concept is in getting three school districts, 13 municipalities and the county itself-all separate taxing authorities- to work together to make the five-year abatement profitable for investors. Overregulation, a militant conservation ethic and an entrenched NIMBY ( not in my backyard) attitude all militate against business development in Pike beyond its mainstay of tourism, but when entrenched interest begin realizing the impacts of shrinking school enrollments and a dwindling work force, hopefully change will come.

Supervisors Show Support For Tax Abatement Program
The Pike County Dispatch By Ken Baumel, Thursday, March 21, 2013

SHOHOLA — Last Thursday night, Shohola Township became the first Pike County local-government body to enact the tax-abatement for businesses seeking to site or expand in the community. Township supervisors passed Ordinance 75, which authorized the abatement, at the regular township meeting held last week at the township building on Twin Lakes Road. Supervisors took action after the township Planning Commission advised approving the ordinance to cover the entire township, not just the two business districts. Supervisors could have selected any part of the township or the entire township, according to Pike County Economic Development Authority Director Mike Sullivan, who requested supervisors adopt the ordinance. The ordinance supports state legislation enabling Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA). Sullivan, who had spoken at two previous Shohola regular meetings, asked supervisors to support his proposal for a five-year tax abatement, an incentive for companies that provide jobs to sites in Shohola. New York State and New Jersey provide up to 20-year incentives to companies seeking to relocate there. Sullivan said that EDA is competing with New York and New Jersey. He is proposing a five-year abatement proposal be adopted or supported by every taxing entity in Pike. According to Sullivan, his five-year abatement plan gives a company a more attractive tax break than the 20-year plan. In answer to a previous question from Shohola supervisors, if Shohola adopts the abatement, Shohola would lose no tax revenue on existing business property.A business owner can benefit from the abatement only on improved property, not on an existing facility that is already taxed. Sullivan said on Monday that he had already spoken to a Shohola business owner who is interested in expanding their plant to another location in Shohola. The tax abatement is attractive enough that the employer plans to stay in Shohola rather than go to New York State. Sullivan said that another company is now interested in siting in Pike (not in Shohola). He said that he is very optimistic that with Shohola on board, other Pike government bodies would follow suit. Sullivan said, “My intent is to get full support from Pike County commissioners, the three school districts, and all 13 municipalities to support the abatement. “I think that getting municipal support is most important. However, the county and school districts could opt out even if municipalities opt in. The school tax is about 60 percent of the total tax. So, if a school district opts out, it would make it less appealing for a business to site in Pike… for complete story, get this week’s issue
Relief comes for Dingman businesses Supervisors say businesses help pay for all township services, keep expenses down

Pike County Courrier , Published Mar 8, 2013 at 11:10 am By Jerry Goldberg

DINGMAN — Dingman Township is on board for real estate tax relief incentives for new or expanding business. At the March 5 township supervisors meeting, Executive Director Michael Sullivan of the Pike County Development Authority (PCEDA), along with Vice-Chairman Marcia Guberman, presented an outline of the Pike County Tax Abatement Program for Dingman Township. Township Supervisor Tom Mincer told Sullivan they were very interested to learn about the program, and were in favor of it too. The five-year abatement program was developed to assist industries and businesses locate or expand in Pike County. The abatement incentive would apply only to real property improvements and not to their existing tax rate. In Dingman Township there are only two areas that would be subject to the tax incentive abatement.

The following incentive reductions would apply on improvements and new commercial developments only:

  • Year 1 — 90 percent reduction collection
  • Year 2 — 80 percent reduction collection
  • Year 3 — 60 percent reduction collection
  • Year 4 — 40 percent reduction collection
  • Year 5 — 20 percent reduction collection
  • Year 6 — zero percent reduction collection, which will be full assessment

The reduction would apply to real estate taxes, which comprise the town tax and the school tax. The school tax amounts to 60 percent to 70 percent of the total tax bill. Sullivan has already met with the Delaware Valley School Board twice and believes a majority of the board might be in favor of the program. “I am meeting with the school board again and ask them to be in favor of the program because there would not be much of an abatement reduction incentive without their approval,” he said. “The school tax is the biggest part of taxes collected and we need incentives to attract new business and to offer current business a reason to expand,” said Mincer. “If the school board is for this it will make it easier to put into place a new ordinance for this purpose. It would be good to set up a meeting with school board, the county, and the township.” Sullivan said he’d like to get the process started but is running into some reluctance. Everyone involved wants others to be the first to sign on to the incentive program, he said. Sullivan quoted a study made by the American Farmland Trust on community services: for every dollar in real estate taxes collected by a municipality, it costs $1.19 for services to residential tax payers but only 28 cents for commercial tax payers. Mincer made it clear by attracting new businesses and having others expand their existing businesses would increase the overall tax rate, add no additional children to the school roster, and create an increase in local area jobs. Sullivan asked the supervisors if it meant he could go to the school board and say Dingman Township is in favor of the Tax Abatement Program. Mincer told him they are on board for the 2013 Tax Abatement Program.

For every dollar in real estate taxes collected by a municipality, it costs $1.19 for services to residential tax payers but only 28 cents for commercial taxpayers.

Lackawaxen Discusses Tax Abatement Program
Pike County Dispatch, By Preston Ehrler on Friday February 20th 2013
Seminar to give insight into new health care law

By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Writer February 17, 2013

Full implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is just 10 months away. Most businesses don’t know much about it, yet the implications could be huge, says Mike Sullivan, head of the Pike County Economic Development Authority. “Information is coming out in dribs and drabs,” Sullivan said. The Internal Revenue Service recently released figures for a “bronze” health care policy, the most moderate plan, which could cost $20,000 in 2016 for a family of four or five. Who pays for it? “That is still a mystery,” Sullivan said. “We think this is one of the most important issues businesses are facing.” Business owners don’t know what the plan will cost but some are concerned that they do not have a profit margin wide enough to cover it. Others are considering the financial penalties that come with growth. Businesses with more than 50 full-time employees must provide insurance. One Pike County business considering expanding from 38 to 70 employees would move into the coverage bracket, making expansion more costly than expected. The plan is one of the most sweeping changes since the enactment of Social Security that is about to descend on American business and yet, little is known about it, Sullivan said.

The Pike County Chamber of Commerce is offering a 90-minute seminar on the issue Feb. 28. The seminar will feature three speakers: Joseph Sileo is an attorney with McNees, Wallace & Nurick in Scranton, which specializes in this new law and other labor and management issues. He and his colleagues, Jennifer LaPorta Baker and Jennifer Walsh, will be on hand to address issues facing small and medium-sized businesses. Also presenting will be Jeff Haudenschield, co-founder of The Benefits Group. A representative from the certified public accounting firm Judelson, Giardino & Siegel, will address the fiscal implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. This session is designed to educate businesses about the practical steps they should be taking now in order to stay on top of compliance in 2013 and 2014. Topics will include the definition and importance of full-time employment status under the act; an update on Pennsylvania’s approach to establishing a health care exchange; and a review of important deadlines over the next few years.

Chamber president: Law will have huge impact

By Wayne Witkowski Pocono Record Business Editor February 17, 2013

Businesses are taking the “Chicken Little” approach that the sky will be falling in the months ahead for the upcoming federally mandated business health insurance coverage for all employees. Philomena “Philly” Viscardo, agent/owner of Dingman Delaware Insurance on Route 739 in Dingmans Ferry, recently began her second one-year term as re-elected president of the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and has helped plan a 90-minute seminar Feb. 28 on the latest health care developments for businesses as part of the monthly breakfast meetings at the Best Western In Matamoras. “I suspect this will have a huge impact on businesses, and they’re struggling as it is and have a hard enough time meeting monthly expenses,” Viscardo said. Viscardo said that she has heard from lawmakers that the fine for non-compliance would be less than the cost of health insurance coverage. “So what’s the incentive there? People will go with what’s cheaper,” Viscardo said. The Pike Chamber of Commerce also has a business health insurance policy called Chamber Choice. “A small percentage (of members) are involved now,” Viscardo said. “It used to be that members joined the chamber to get access to this plan that they could afford. But rates got higher and we lost members and they changed the rules. They’re no longer writing policies for businesses with one employee.” With those changes, some members dropped out, especially very small businesses. She said that includes entrepreneurs who were laid off from long-term jobs and became self-employed out of their own homes as a contractor, handyman or in the field of technology, for example.

Viscardo said her chamber is developing a separate category they hope to implement by March in which entrepreneurs and “mompreneurs” — women working on sales out of their homes for national companies — can join the chamber for less than the $195 annual membership rate. “Small businesses is what makes keeps this country going and we’re getting the shaft all the time,” Viscardo said. “It’s increasingly difficult. The smaller the business, the harder it is to keep it afloat.” Viscardo pointed out that membership is what drives the chamber and it’s been a churn, with rising overhead forcing some businesses to drop out while some new ones have come on board the past year as the enrollment holds to about 200 businesses. Add to that the recent development that the IRS does not have forms available for business tax filings for 2012 with the changes governing those 2012 filings that took effect in Jan. 1, 2013.Viscardo said the wait has been “very frustrating” for her and other business owners she has spoken to about it. Pocono Record Business columnist Erin Baehr said as of Thursday about the business tax forms “they’re coming online a little at a time. For instance, in my software, personal returns claiming the education credit are being accepted as of today, and the Pennsylvania corporate report, RCT-101 as far as I know, is not available yet. Business returns were accepted as of last Friday. So, yes, it’s very frustrating.” Viscardo said advertising and marketing are important to the future of its business and are considered operating overhead. Members get a listing in the guidebook and a full page on the web site. And the chamber also has a Women in Business group headed by Viscardo that addresses different issues concerning female business owners as well as networking events scheduled regularly throughout the year. Opportunities for exposure like membership for the chamber is “a part of the budget that is of utmost importance like electricity and operating expenses. “Mike Sullivan (head of the Pike Economic Development Authority that formed an alliance with the chamber last March with Sullivan as executive director of both groups) showed me a survey of businesses back in the recession of the 1980s that showed that for businesses that increased or maintained their marketing during the recession, once the recession was over, they saw a 260 percent increase in revenue,” Viscardo said. “If that doesn’t show how important it is to keep marketing and advertising in place during these tough times, I don’t know what does.” And although Viscardo said she sees little change in the business climate around Pike County from a year ago, she said there is a “glimmer of hope” with more favorable activity in other economic indicators in the area.

Successful Winter LIghts Fest is put on ice for another year
Times Herald Record, By Jessica Cohen on Friday February 8th 2013
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Changing business park setback not so easy

By Jan. 26, 2013 4:35 pm Peter Becker Managing Editor The News Eagle, Hawley PA
Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) would need to seek an amendment to restrictive covenants placed on vacant business park land on Well Road (SR 434), if the applicant wishes relief from the 150 setback from the road.

G. Davis Inc., which operates a fleet of 25 school buses charted by the Wallenpaupack Area School District, is interested in a piece of property in the park to serve as a depot. Rich Davis, General Manager, said they have been located in Shohola Township since they started 45 years ago, but their business has grown. He said the Pike County Business Park in Blooming Grove Township would better serve their needs. They take about 150 children a day to school and back. The bus company made an offer to the EDA, but before pursuing the purchase, Davis said that the present 150 foot setback would need to be changed. The setback line passes through a pre-existing building that the bus company would want to renovate, and the useable acreage that is left beyond the setback would not give them enough room. He said that they would utilize about four to five acres between two wetland areas, should the setback be relieved. A fence and buffer of trees would be proposed to block the view of the buses, in lieu of the deep setback. Davis suggested that a 30 to 50 foot setback would be more reasonable.

Michael Sullivan, Executive Director of the EDA, met with the Blooming Grove Supervisors on Dec. 17 asking if the setback requirement could be waived. Sullivan noted that the business park has not had any tenants, and allowing the bus company would provide a tax-paying entity. The EDA serves to seek and market potential business sites. The business park on Well Road is owned by the Pike County Business Development Corporation, Sullivan said. The 150 foot setback was put in place to protect the residential properties in Camelot Forest across the road. Randy Schmalzle, Chairman of the Board of Supervisors, said that no formal request was ever made to the Township. He said the Supervisors had no position until a submission is made by the applicant. Sullivan was informed that a process would have to be undertaken to request that the setback be changed. This would require a public hearing, giving the residents a chance to give testimony. Then it would be up to the Supervisors to vote on whether or not to allow the change. The chairman said it was a long, negotiated process to establish the restrictive covenants for the business park, and in the end, all parties agreed to the setback of 150 feet. Sullivan stated, however, that the EDA lacked the financial resources for the engineer and legal counsel, to apply and request an amendment to the restrictive covenants.

Land swap proposed for business park Palmyra doesn't want repeat of empty investment

By Jan. 24, 2013 4:35 pm Peter Becker Managing Editor The News Eagle, Hawley PA

Citing a pressing need to expand business development in Pike County, Palmyra Township (Pike) Supervisors have been asked to consider a piece of Delaware State Forest land for a new business park.

Michael J. Sullivan, Executive Director for the Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) met with the Supervisors Jan. 22nd. His proposal is to ask the state to swap the parcel for a portion of the existing business park set aside in Blooming Grove Township, that has never been developed. The tract he is looking in Palmyra is a big, rough triangle, containing 154 acres, at the corner with Interstate 84 on the north, and Route 390 on the east. Shiney Mountain Road borders on the west. Old Greentown Road cuts through the middle. The triangle’s southern tip is where Shiney Mountain Road meets Route 390. Sullivan told the Palmyra Supervisors that there are issues with the Blooming Grove business park that make it largely unbuildable. The land includes an “enormous ice age bog” with about 200 acres of wetlands. The EDA has been searching for alternative sites in Pike, which are few, he said. The urgency of the matter, Sullivan explained, are the troubling economic statistics Pike County faces. Information compiled by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce from US Census and IRS data show that after a long growth period, Pike is now losing population. From April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2011, the population is estimated to have decreased by .9 percent (515 people). Unemployment rate in Pike has been among the highest in Pennsylvania for almost two years. Sullivan said that the total number of businesses in Pike decreased by about 10 percent between 2008 and 2010.

EDA would like to trade about 500 acres of the park in Blooming Grove Township, with the 154 acres in Palmyra, as well as a few other building lots EDA hopes to identify. The section he wants to trade is mostly wetland, which the state may want to preserve. There is also an endangered species of salamander on the Blooming Grove tract, but no endangered species identified at the Palmyra site. The empty business park totals 600 acres. The tract under discussion in Palmyra appears to be quite suitable, with no known wetlands, no slopes greater than 25 percent, and good soils. There are no streams, which would be problematic given the required buffer zones. A septic system would be required. There is no water service at present but there is hope suitable well water could be drilled. An electrical transmission line passes through, which they hope could provide electrical service. Lots could be developed along Old Greentown Road with reasonable buffers from the business development, he added. Sullivan said this was still exploratory, and nothing would happen if the state did not agree to the swap. He first wanted to know how the Township would feel, and if they did not agree, EDA would accept that.

Two of the supervisors voiced concerns. Ken Coutts said he favored business development but was concerned that a great deal of money and work went into preparing the site in Blooming Grove Township, and now it is “deemed unusable.” He said that they don’t want the same thing to happen in Palmyra Township. Eric Ehrhardt noted that the Sterling Business Park, off of I-84 in Sterling Township, Wayne County, is not far away. No tenants have been announced there. Sullivan stated that the Pike County EDA works closely with the Wayne Economic Development Corporation (WEDCO). The Sterling site, which offers a centralized sewer and water system, has considerably more expensive rates than he said the Palmyra site would be able to set. Given that the Palmyra site would only have a septic system, “we could sell for $15,000 an acre,” Sullivan sated. Ehrhardt described the I-84 exit in Palmyra serves as an “entry way” for their residents. He said that if the forest land were to be “torn up,” the Supervisors would be getting “feedback.” Sullivan noted that nothing would be done to the land unless they had a tenant.

The EDA recently obtained a two-year forbearance for the loan to develop the Pike County Business Park. Pike County Business Development Corporation, which has the title to the park, has at least $2.5 million debt from purchasing the land and getting it ready. The plan was to pay back the debts as plots were sold to companies, which failed to happen. The two-year forbearance gives the EDA time to arrange the land swap and sell parcels to businesses. This in turn would settle past debts and bring in needed jobs. In an interview later, Sullivan said that the Supervisors’ concerns are legitimate, and it is not his wish to impose anything. “The towns hold all the cards,” he said, and now he will wait and see. Sullivan stressed that there are about 350,000 acres in Pike County, and if only about 300 would be available, “that would be terrific for business.” He said there are many voices for the environment but not many speak for business development. He said that he, as well as the EDA, wishes to champion “thoughtful” economic development that would be suitable for Pike County.

Aging population slowing Pike's economic growth

By Beth Brelje From the Pocono Record January 11, 2013

Pike County’s population is aging and that has a negative effect on economic growth, Pike County Economic Development Authority Chief Mike Sullivan recently said. Pike is generally more older and less younger that the rest of the country. In Pike, 16.5 percent of the population is age 65, and older, that is 3.2 percent more than the national average. And with 4.6 percent of the population under age 5, Pike has 1.9 percent fewer young children than the national average. The numbers are from the U.S. Census Bureau and are collected because they have implications for school districts, Sullivan said. But they also show there is a difference between Pike and the rest of the country in some way, Sullivan, 66, said. During Pike’s building boom, in the early 2000s, people who moved to the area from New York and New Jersey were seeking cheaper housing. They were either retired or had children in school. Many of those students have graduated and their parents are aging. The original retirees are still here, too. These transplants are sometimes heard at public meetings reminding elected officials why they moved away from the city. “In Pike you see a general anti-development feeling. People say ‘I moved here because of its natural character and I don’t want development inside of Pike.’ I hear that a lot,” Sullivan said. “That is characteristic of people who want a certain lifestyle. They tend not to be as interested in the needs of younger people still in the workforce.” Sullivan says he is not being critical, that “it is what it is,” but, he says, “Without growth you start to stagnate. That is what is happening in the U.S. right now, and that is what happens when people say, ‘I don’t want growth here.'”

Pike has had some of the highest unemployment numbers in the state in 2011 and ’12, most recently reported at 11.7 percent. “That is the reason that philosophy is bad. If you say no to everything, it has ramifications,” Sullivan said. Older Pike residents represent a strong voting population and elected officials are going to support their positions, he said. An economy must increase by three percent a year to absorb graduating students entering the workforce and to support salary increases for workers, according to Sullivan. “This high unemployment in Pike County is a direct result of not planning. I think the government has a responsibility to protect the environment and plan for development,” Sullivan said. He is not suggesting everything be blacktopped and is a proponent of thoughtful economic development that is sensitive to the environment.

Township denies business park request
By Tom Kane, The River Reporter, January 9, 2013

A request by Michael Sullivan, the director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority for a reduction of the setback rule that applies at the Pike County Business Park from 150 feet to 10 feet was turned down by the Blooming Grove Township Board. Sullivan was attempting to accommodate a new employer who wanted to park large buses at the site. The Davis Company has a fleet of 25 school buses that would need room for a garage and parking area. Sullivan had argued that the company was a non-manufacturing business and would not cause a lot of industrial noise. He said that they would plant a natural screen of trees and erect a fence to camouflage the buses from public view. “The council said they want the setback and that the houses across from the park on Route 434 would be less disturbed if the setback was observed,” Sullivan said.
Shohola To Hold Hearing On Tax-Abatement Law
By Ken Baumel, Pike County Dispatch, December 20, 2012

SHOHOLA — Township supervisors approved advertising for a public hearing for a proposed local tax-abatement law. The law would give Shohola a fighting chance to compete for businesses (seeking to site in the Tri-state area and specifically in Shohola) by giving such companies a tax break.
Supervisors approved advertising the hearing scheduled at a regular township meeting at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 14. Supervisors took action at their regular meeting last week held at the township building on Twin Lakes Road. Township Solicitor Jason Ohliger explained that Pennsylvania enabling legislation for abatement is covered in the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance Act (LERTA).
Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) Director Mike Sullivan, at the previous regular township meeting in November, proposed Shohola approve implementing an abatement. Ohliger said that EDA’s proposal is justified under LERTA legislation because of Shohola’s high unemployment, over 9 percent, among the highest in Pennsylvania. LERTA standards include communities with high unemployment. The question facing Shohola supervisors is whether to include the whole town as a LERTA zone or to narrow the zone down to Route 6 and Route 434 commercial zones, the most active commercial zones. Ohliger noted that a few other areas zoned for commercial development, such as near Walker Lake on Twin Lakes Road could also be included. Ohliger advised that after advertising the hearing, supervisors should ask the township Planning Commission to review, prior to the hearing, the EDA proposal. The commission would then recommend whether the whole township or specific commercial corridors should be included. Supervisors approved referring LERTA to the Planning Commission.
At the previous meeting, Sullivan said that the township needs to provide five-year tax abatement as an incentive for companies that provide jobs to site in Shohola. He noted that New York State and New Jersey provide up to 20-year incentives. If adopted, Shohola should lose no tax revenue on existing business property. Only the improved areas of a facility would get abatement… for complete story, get this week’s issue.
EDA Wants Biz Park Setback Eased For Bus Company
By Lisa Mickles, Pike County Dispatch, December 20, 2012

BLOOMING GROVE — Now that the potential buyer for a parcel in the Pike County Business Park has purchased property elsewhere off Route 6 in Shohola Township, Pike County Economic Development Authority (PCEDA) Executive Director Michael Sullivan approached the supervisors regarding another possible tenant. At Monday night’s meeting, Sullivan requested that the township consider reducing their 150-foot setback restriction to 10 feet to allow for a bus garage and parking area for G. Davis Bus Company’s fleet of 25 school buses.
The 17-acre property located off Route 434 would be part of a 100-acre parcel that the PCEDA is looking to keep and not include as a swap for 154 acres of state forest lands in Palmyra and Greene Township. PCEDA is looking to trade 500 acres of the Pike County Business Park, which consists mostly of wetlands and bog for the property since it would better attract potential clients since it sits at the intersection of Interstate 84 and Route 390 and already has road access. Sullivan urged the supervisors to reconsider the setback restrictions since it is a non-manufacturing business. He said that they would plant a natural screen and erect fencing to camouflage the buses from the public.
Township Supervisor Randy Schmalzle said that the township’s zoning ordinance and the Business Park’s covenants and restrictions were set in place through a multi-year process that was contingent on keeping the setback restrictions in place to protect private homeowners once the business park was constructed. Sullivan reminded Schmalzle that the homeowners of Camelot Forest would be happier with the fact that they plan on swapping 500 acres of the business park with the state to keep it in its natural state, which would substantially reduce future impact of large businesses moving into the area. The supervisors said they must follow their zoning ordinance regulations but said attorneys from both sides can discuss possible options that would protect the public while also helping with economic development in the area… for complete story, get this week’s story.
Search widens for land suitable for Pike County business
By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Writer October 05, 2012

The Pike County Economic Development Authority is considering various options in its search for land suitable for development. The empty business park in Blooming Grove Township, owned by the county since 1997, is largely unbuildable. LP Cylinder Service of Shohola plans to buy nearly 36 acres of the business park for $536,000, plus a never-used sewage treatment plant for $40,000. The remaining 570 acres of the park has too many environmental limitations, including a habitat for an endangered salamander, and recently expanded setbacks from wetlands, leaving little space for building. The authority is looking into swapping the unusable land for a 285-acre parcel owned by the state located along Route 6 in Blooming Grove Township, less than a mile west from the intersection of Route 739 and abutting Blooming Grove Hunting Club property. The pursuit of land for business development is still in the early stages. And the swap is only one option. Another idea would be to obtain a few small parcels in several locations throughout the county, or find another large plot of land elsewhere. Pike County has much preserved open space but needs a place set aside for economic development, said Mike Sullivan, executive director of the Pike Economic Development Authority. “When it is all said and done, I just want a location that I can show developers. Right now I have nothing to show except the business park, and that doesn’t show well,” Sullivan said.
Tax abatement asked to develop business.

By Peter Becker The News Eagle September 13. 2012 4:02PM

In an effort to counter a loss of Pike County businesses and attract more jobs, Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Pike County Economic Development Authority is seeking a tax abatement for new or expanding business. He is asking for cooperation from the county, school districts and municipalities to offer companies a tax break. Michael J. Sullivan, Executive Director for both organizations, approached the Wallenpaupack Area School Board Monday night with the proposal. He said he would be talking with the Delaware Valley School Board the following week, and already has the support of the Pike County Commissioners.

Businesses leaving Pike

Striking an urgent note, Sullivan stressed that Pike County has high unemployment and increasing number of companies departing for other areas where it costs less to do business. Currently he said there is no site in Pike County to offer new companies that is already served by water, sewer and gas utilities. “It doesn’t exist,” he said. He cited an example of a company in Shohola Township that is doing so well, they are about to double in size. They have been offered, however, a 20-year tax abatement in New York State to encourage the business to move there.?The proposal being offered in Pike County, he said, was more modest. This is a five year program, where only the improvements on the land would get a tax break, less with each successive year. “You will gain money, not lose,” Sullivan told the School Board. “I need this in order to attract business” he said. “It’s very difficult.” sharing Census statistics, he noted that in 2008 Pike County has 917 businesses. In 2009 there were only 887. He noted how people in Pike County are willing to commute long distances for a job- as far as eastern Long Island- because the jobs aren’t here. Unemployment in Pike County is the second highest of the 67 counties statewide. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics set the rate at 11.2% in July. The rate was 10.7% a year before. Philadelphia County was on top in July, at 11.6%. By contrast, Wayne County’s jobless rate was 6.8%; Monroe County, 10.%. The average in Pennsylvania was 7.9%; nationally, 8.3.%.

How the program works

The incentive program would apply to existing as well as new business activity in Pike County, PA. Sullivan described it as a modest tax abatement designed to keep Pike competitive with neighboring states and counties in order to attract new business activity. “This program is designed to work with Pennsylvania’s competitive situation as desirable place to do business,” the written summary states. Taxing authorities such as townships or school districts can choose to participate or not. The proposed program offer a five year tax abatement. Real estate taxes would be reduced on three conditions: 1. On new building construction and/or, 2. Major restoration to existing real estate and 3. Municipalities must designate the area where tax abatement applies.?Application must be made before the Pike County Commissioners and the participating municipality and school district for each individual development project. Initial contact would be through the Pike County Economic Development Authority. The proposed abatement apples to following percentages on real estate improvements only. The tax on the land would not be affected. Year 1, 90% reduction of taxes. 10% collected. Year 2, 80% reduction of taxes. 20% collected. Year 3, 60% reduction of taxes. 40% collected. Year 4, 40% reduction of taxes. 60% collected. Year 5, 20% reduction of taxes. 80% collected. Year 6, Full real estate assessment; 100% collected.

School districts’ help critical

Participation by the school districts is critical, Sullivan said, as school taxes represent about 60 percent of the tax bill.?Sullivan noted that a generous tax abatement program is not needed in Pennsylvania. The Tax Foundation ranked the state 19th in the country for how favorable a state’s tax system is for business. New Jersey was the worst, with a rank of 50; New York was in 49th place. “With a modest tax abatement program in Pennsylvania, we can do wonders,” Sullivan said.?The School Board did not take any action. Sullivan offered to come back next month to discuss the plan further.

Toomey touts small business bill to Pike Chamber

By Katie Collins The News Eagle reporter September 10. 2012 4:03PM

Pike County Chamber of Commerce recently invited Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) to Woodloch Pines to hear what the people of Pike County had to say. Arriving late to the gathering, Toomey said it was good to be back in Pike County. Toomey said being at the resort was a “valuable opportunity” to hear what he should be “focusing on in Washington to help encourage job security for economic growth.”?Toomey said he was aware that the unemployment rate in Pike County was high and the “recovery is terrible.” He added there, “really is a lack of recovery” and with the economy being weak overall, the economy is “particularly weak in this part of Pennsylvania.”

Pleased to get the JOBS Act bill recently passed, Toomey said there is not “a lot of bipartisan cooperation in Washington, unfortunately this was.” Toomey said he wrote most of the bill and that it was “designed to allow small and growing companies to allow capital more affordable.” The new bill will allow companies to privately raise money, which will enable companies to grow and hire new workers. Toomey said the bill will not “change the economy overnight,” but the bill will help and he was glad to get it done and that the President Barrack Obama signed the bill into law.?With the federal transportation budget, Toomey said a two-year bill has been passed that reauthorizes transportation funding. He said “we” should be doing things to make transportation authorization bills longer than two years, so people will be able to make plans. Toomey called this a “problem with the dysfunctional government that we have” because moving in the current small steps is bad because there are “bigger things” that need to be done. He was pleased that a two-year bill was at least signed.?With the new bill, Toomey said infrastructure is possible in the Pocono region because there’s substantial funding in the bill, but the state of Pennsylvania will have to “allocate” the money in “ways that make sense.”?As for the Republic presidential candidate, Toomey said he thinks Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are the “ideal men for the time that we face” because they understand how to get the economy moving again. He said Romney and Ryan will get “our fiscal house in order” and allow people to have “economic growth and prosperity” that is needed that “can only come from a free enterprise system from the private sector.” Toomey added that Romney and Paul “are the clear choice” to get the “economy moving again.”

Incentive program proposed for Pike to attract business

By Kelly Waters GateHouse News Service Posted Jul 23, 2012 @ 05:05 PM

Pike County, Pa. — Five year tax break on expansions
During the July 18 meeting of the Pike County Commissioners, Michael Sullivan, Executive Director of Pike County Economic Development Authority, proposed a plan for an incentive program for Pike County. The proposal is meant to develop an incentive program that would encourage new economic development activity in the county. It applies to existing as well as new business activity. Called a ‘modest proposal,’ the program involves tax abatements and is designed to keep Pike County competitive with neighboring states and counties in the region, in attracting new business activity. Commissioners Osterberg and Wagner went out to Tioga County with Sullivan. They also contacted several other counties in Pa., most notably Butler and Erie counties. Sullivan says they are proposing a mimic of what is offered by Tioga County.

Five year tax break

“We also wanted to give some idea to how it compares to other states,” says Sullivan. “For example, in New York State, you can go to the IDA [Industrial Development Agnecy] and get a 20 year tax abatement. The one we are proposing is a five year. You can also provide sales tax relief on both building materials and also equipment purchased for that particular project. In this case we are asking for none of that. New York gives property transfer taxes, and we are not asking for that either. New York freezes tax assessments and again we aren’t asking for that. There are no payments being made to any company and there is no money given to anyone. The incentive is for prospective improvements on the property and a tax abatement that will last five years. This relates not to the land; it will always be taxed as it is today. A municipality will never be in position to lose money; they will always gain money from taxable improvements on property that is new or sufficient to increase the tax abatement.” The recollection plan will be 90% for the first year, 80% for the second, 60% for the third, 40% for the fourth, and 20% for the fifth. Sullivan explains that each year municipalities and school districts will receive an increased volume of money that’s introduced to them. Even though year one and two are quite generous still making additional monies, existing taxes on buildings and land that are in existence will not be abated. “If somebody does something with an existing building that increase taxes, the difference between the old and new taxes will be abated at these rates,” he says. “Municipalities and school districts can opt out of the program. It’s their choice.” According to the proposal that Sullivan passed around, the program is designed to work with Pennsylvania’s competitive situation as a desirable place to do business. It provides for no current loss of revenue for any municipality, provides no local monitory funding for new business activities, but does provide for substantial prospective real property tax abatements on improvements for a period of five years after a new enterprise expands or builds new. The five year abatement program was developed to assist industries and businesses locating or expanding in Pike County and is structured to reduce the real estate taxes based on the following conditions: 1. on new building construction and/or 2. major restoration to existing real estate, which will result in an increased real estate assessment; and 3. municipalities must designate the area where tax abatement applies.

Application process

Applications must be made before the Pike County Commissioners and the participating municipality and school district for each individual development project. The Pike County Economic Development Authority encourages companies to utilize the Pike County Preferential Tax Assessment Plan and is available to assist in securing the benefits of the program. The Pike County Economic Development Authority administers the tax abatement program and initial contact should be with the authority. The program extends to municipality and school districts in which the project is located. Approval of each of the following tax bodies is required: 1. a request in writing to the Pike County Commissioners, 2. a request in writing to the municipality in which the project is located and 3. request in writing to the school district in which the project is located. The same information submitted to the Pike County Commissioners is to be used for municipality and school district approval, as well as a copy of the letter to the Commissioners and Municipality/School District is available.

Keep youth in area

“I think it’s important we move forward with this,” says Commissioner Osterberg. “When you read this and see that Pike County is second in state of unemployment, we need to do something to help offset that. We need some way to keep our youth here, because once they graduate from college, they’re gone. There’s nothing here for them to come back to at this moment. We need to at least investigate all of this and let Michael take it out to the other townships. The county passes this, but the municipalities have to buy into this. We don’t force them to do it. They must pass an ordinance on their own to take part in this.” “We’re just giving them the opportunity to take part,” says Commissioner Harry Wagner. “I think it’s something we have to do, but mainly with the school districts. The big tax you pay is the school district tax. If the school districts don’t opt into this then the business moving in isn’t going to save any taxes. Remember it’s just on the improvements, not the land or building that’s there. If an entity moves in and expands a building, they have an abatement on the expansion. Hopefully the school districts will opt into this because in the long run they’ll be getting more taxes. Once the entity moves in there, the improvement will, eventually after five years, be on the tax rolls. And it’s going to produce jobs, which is the main thing. If it’s utilized by the municipalities and school districts, I know the county will, I think it will attract businesses without a doubt.” Chairman Rich Caridi was absent.

Business tax abatements sought Five-year program for new and expanding businesses

Pike County Courrier

Published Jul 19, 2012 at 6:01 am (Updated Jul 19, 2012)
MILFORD — A tax abatement incentive plan, to bring in new business and help existing businesses grow, was presented to Pike County Commissioners Wednesday by Michael Sullivan, executive director of Pike County Economic Development Authority.

The five year plan proposed would: reduce the real estate taxes on new or existing businesses that build a new construction and perform major restoration to existing real estate (that would normally result in an increased tax assessment). Specifically, if a business wants to move into the county, or an existing business wants to expand, the proposal offers a five year tax abatement. In the first year, it would receive a 90% reduction in taxes, 80% in the next year, 60% in the third year, 40% in the fourth year and 20% in the fifth year. Thereafter, they would pay their full assessment.

According to the plan, municipalities would be responsible for designating areas within their boundaries where the tax abatement would apply. The plan will require a buy-in by the school districts and municipalities, before whom Sullivan will be appearing and explaining both the plan and why it would be beneficial. Each school district and municipality could opt in or out of the plan anytime. Sullivan hopes he can convince them of the benefits.

“The big benefit is to make Pike County competitive with our neighbors,” says Sullivan. “It’s very difficult for us to attract businesses in Pike County, when across the river on both sides [New York and New Jersey] are offering incentives.” The obvious benefit of bringing new business or expanding existing businesses is the growth in jobs. The long term benefit is that once the abatement ends, it will grow the tax rolls. “Inherently, the way we do business [in Pennsylvania]” is more attractive, according to The Tax Foundation 2012 Business Climate Report. “The state of Pennsylvania is in a very strong position,” says Sullivan. “We don’t have to do as big a tax abatement as they do in New York.” According to the report, Pennsylvania is at number 19 on the list compared to other states’ tax systems, and is often a gauge businesses use in considering location. “I don’t want to give away the farm,” explains Sullivan of the modesty of the plan. “Nothing of what I am proposing here is radical. It is very understated. I am tying this proposal to our superior rating [according to the Climate Report].”

The growth of new jobs is important as Pike County at 9.8% unemployment, has the third highest unemployment rate in the state, close behind Cameron and Philadelphia Counties, as of May 2012. Also, the proposed plan shows how far current residents in Pike County have to go in order to be employed – west to Columbia County, south to Philadelphia and Ocean County, N.J., east to Suffolk County, N.Y. and north to Utica County, N.Y. According to the 2000 Census figures large portions of Pike residents often must travel to Monroe, Wayne, Sussex and Orange Counties to find jobs. The commissioners were supportive of the idea. Commissioner Matt Osterberg called the idea, “a very important program that will help with economic revitalization of the county.” The commissioners would pass a county-wide resolution if and when the school districts and municipalities accept the idea of the plan and pass resolutions making the abatement available. Sullivan brought up a case in point for the incentive programs. There was an area in Greer, S.C. which was an “economic wasteland.” But after instituting a business incentive program , a BMW plant moved in, bringing with it jobs and eventually an addition to the tax rolls. Since 1992, the plant has invested over $6 billion in the Spartanburg County area. At the time of original investment, BMW expected to bring in about $1 billion and 4,000 jobs. Recently BMW has announced another $900 million investment over the next several years and another 300 jobs to be added.

— Charles Reynolds

Census data tell the story in Pike County

Pocono Record
May 29, 2012
Pike County Economic Development Authority Executive Director Michael Sullivan can crunch numbers like they’re an empty can of soda. He’s mined data to make the case for why Delaware Township is need of a supermarket. And at a recent Pike Chamber of Commerce breakfast, he detailed how the Pike population is getting older.

According to U.S. Census data, 6.5 percent of the national population is under the age of 5. In contrast, in Pike, 4.9 percent of the population is under 5, which explains the shrinking enrollment at Delaware Valley Elementary School. While there are fewer young children in Pike than the national average, there are more seniors than the national average. Nationally, 13 percent of Americans are over age 65. In Pike, 16.2 percent are over 65. It means the county needs services that appeal to seniors.

The Pike Chamber of Commerce breakfast was attended by 37 people. Many have contacted Sullivan seeking more information on the numbers behind Pike business. The next chamber breakfast will focus on advertising, Sullivan said. Details on that seminar will be announced.

Pa. bid to woo grocer cites $31M market

By Beth Brelje
Michael Sullivan has 31 million reasons to plant a grocery store on Route 739 in Pike County. The executive director of the Pike County Economic Development Authority is drawing on all of them to woo grocery store developers to Delaware Township, where residents now have to drive 8 to 10 miles to buy food.

Having combed through Pike County statistics, Sullivan has found that a grocery store in Delaware Township could tap into a market of about 6,500 homes in developments along the Route 739 corridor. The federal government releases estimates of monthly retail and food sales broken down by type of business. From those numbers, Sullivan found that in 2011, the average household in the United States spent $4,824 on grocery store sales. Having multiplied $4,824 in grocery sales by 6,500 homes, Sullivan calculates an enticing $31 million market for grocery sales in Delaware Township. “I am talking to grocery developers right now. These are the factors I give them,” Sullivan said. Township Supervisor Tom Ryan met with Sullivan a few months ago and asked him to try to bring a grocery store to the township. “We are in an isolated pocket,” Ryan said. “You have to go to Lords Valley or Milford to get groceries.” It would be better if residents could get groceries locally, plus a grocery store would create jobs and be an anchor to other businesses, Ryan said. When talking with developers, Sullivan uses another, equally stunning set of numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau. Per capita retail sales in 2007 were $13,000 in the United States and in Pennsylvania, but in Pike County, per capita retail sales were $6,800. It shows that Pike residents are leaving the county to shop. “There is not enough investment in retail sales in Pike County. One of the strongest cases I can make to developers is these unbalanced numbers,” Sullivan said.

There are at least five suitable locations on Route 739 in Delaware Township for a grocery store. A lot of supermarkets will ask what competition is in 5-mile radius, Sullivan said. While the market is lucrative, infrastructure challenges must be addressed by any business settling in Pike. It is tough to find a site in Pike with water, sewer and gas already in place, Sullivan said. Ryan notes that there is a market to serve that goes beyond local homeowners. Hundreds of visitors drive over the Dingmans Ferry Bridge and go straight up Route 739, perhaps on their way to Wayne County. These are people who would stop on a Friday night for dinner or goods. He would also like to see more family-style restaurants and other businesses along the corridor. “A state liquor store would be a home run,” Ryan said.

Pike County wants to go on the offensive in attracting business
By Beth Brelje
Pocono Record Writer
May 03, 2012 12:00 AM

Pike County is at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to wooing companies but the Pike County Economic Development Authority has a plan to change that. The disadvantages boil down to three obstacles: a lack of land or buildings with existing infrastructure such as sewer, electric, or gas; difficulty getting timely approvals from local planning boards; and no financial incentives for companies facing the expense of a move, Authority Executive Director Michael Sullivan said..
New York, New Jersey and surrounding states offer the incentives companies expect to receive, Sullivan said. For example, in Sullivan County, N.Y., just across the border from Pike, businesses get diminishing tax breaks for up to 20 years, according to the Sullivan Industrial Development Agency. “We’ve got to be able to have something solid to offer. It’s important,” Sullivan said. The authority board is researching incentives that could be offered at the county level, including freezing an appraisal on land and building improvements for 10 years; offering a tax break off that frozen appraisal for 10 years; and forgiveness of property tax transfers. Those incentives, which are still taking shape, would require feedback from Pike municipalities, school districts and approval from the county commissioners before being adopted. One incentive that will not likely be offered in Pike is sales tax forgiveness. In New York, a business may not have to pay sales tax for building construction materials or heavy equipment purchased for use in the operation of the business. Offering a similar incentive in Pennsylvania would require changes to state law. It is worth pursuing, but it would likely take years to change, Sullivan said. For now, businesses face a higher starting cost in Pike, but the long-term benefits of operating in Pennsylvania pay off in lower taxes and lower wages for workers compared to surrounding states. “The big incentive is, ‘Come, be in the state,'” Pocono Mountains Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Chuck Leonard said. The corporation works to bring business to Monroe County. When it comes to incentives to attract new business, Monroe offers “nothing major,” Leonard said. The county does have a revolving loan fund that some companies can borrow from to buy equipment. There are also three Keystone Opportunity Zones in Monroe, properties that offer some tax breaks through the state. Pike has no Keystone Opportunity Zones..
Pike County ripe with potential, says new economic development leader
KEYSTONE EDGE, Inovation & Job News

Thursday, March 22, 2012 Writer: Rebecca VanderMeulen

The new face of economic development in Pike County sees plenty of similarities between his new job in the Poconos and his previous work in upstate New York. Michael Sullivan started last month as executive director of Pike County’s chamber of commerce and economic development authority. He’s spent most of his career in Orange County, New York, located north of New York City. When he was working in economic development there in the 1970s, Sullivan says Orange County faced an unemployment rate of about 10 percent. But within a few years it became the fastest-growing county in the state, thanks to new businesses and proximity to New York City. Sullivan thinks Pike County, on the New York and New Jersey state lines, is similar. “It’s not a depressed area, but it has a lot of potential,” he says. Pike County’s advantages include how close it is to New York City and the fact that Interstate 84 runs through it. He also notes the Tax Foundation’s most recent rankings of the states’ business tax climates. That analysis ranked New Jersey as the least business-friendly state in the country and New York was ranked No. 49. In contrast, Pennsylvania was listed as No. 19. One of Sullivan’s major projects is marketing a business park. County economic leaders are strategically targeting specific industries for the park near I-84, but he won’t identify them. He also hopes to bring more stores to the county, including a supermarket.
A new dawn for Pike County Chamber of Commerce
Straight-talking Sullivan, new executive director, outlines changes to boost region’s economy
By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Published: 2:00 AM – 03/24/12
Pike County’s newest executive, straight-talking Michael Sullivan, might be the voice of reality that county businesses have needed. Sullivan, 65, was hired last month to lead the Pike County Economic Development Authority and the Pike Chamber of Commerce. The two groups have formed the Pike County Economic Alliance, made up of representatives from both. Sullivan is executive director of the alliance. He’s had an earful in his first few weeks on the job. “I’ve met with critics and supporters of this chamber. Some say ‘You’re not doing enough,'” he said. He promises the operation will change substantially. “The economy has wreaked havoc on most businesses in Pike County,” Sullivan said. “The root of the criticism is money is tight, and they had expectations that the chamber was going to help them.” Can the chamber really help local business thrive? “You betcha, the chamber can help!” Sullivan said. “We are going to be what people expect of us.” Sullivan draws on a diverse background in economic development. He’s the former head of the Sullivan County Partnership for Economic Development. He was most recently tasked with selling the Middletown and Goshen campuses of Orange Regional Medical Center following the construction of its new hospital.
Promoting empty business park
Sullivan explained how small retailers can grow their businesses by developing an Internet clientele. It is something he talks about often and the subject of seminars he is leading. “Critics are also perceiving that we are losing economic activity in Pike County,” Sullivan said. The chamber has adopted a vigorous economic development plan. There will be outreach to recruit businesses to the area and to the empty business park in Blooming Grove. “We’re under substantial pressure to aggressively market the business park so it is not a strain on county finances,” Sullivan said. The park will be introduced to industrial brokers who can earn a commission from a sale. Sullivan will solicit people with high net worth and a known interest in real estate. And he will actively seek selected companies that don’t need a lot of infrastructure — such as order-fulfillment houses, similar to
Economically attractive
Pike faces some challenges in efforts to quickly attract employers — all under the heading of infrastructure. It is hard to find a site in Pike with water, sewer, gas and electric already installed. Even the business park lacks these basics. “Without that, vast areas cannot really be developed,” Sullivan said. “None of these deficiencies are insurmountable, but they do limit the options we can offer to companies who are looking to relocate.” But Pike is attractive in some important ways. Land costs less, taxes and regulations are less of a burden compared to neighboring states, and proximity to Interstate 84 is a plus. The moderate cost of labor is an attraction, though the goal is to increase wages through competition between employers. Sullivan believes that despite the economy, local businesses can succeed. “I would ask any business in Pike County to re-evaluate themselves. Don’t listen to negativity,” he said. “Take a chance on learning new technology and new best practices. That is the future for them.”.
Pike seminars will teach retailers how to find new revenue streams
By Beth Brelje | Published: March 2, 2012

A little innovation can turn a struggling business around. For realistic advice on how to grow a retail business, attend one of two seminars being offered by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce: “Building Additional Revenue Streams for Retailers.” The seminar will be presented by Michael Sullivan, the new Executive Director of the Pike County Economic Alliance. Sullivan says retailers live in an era where they can expand and develop clients through technology. In the seminars, retailers will learn how to use a classic retail store as a base for additional sales. This strategy is especially important when the economy is slow and walk-in customers are few, Sullivan says. He will discuss the following topics: quarterly e-commerce report from the US Census Department, where to find new opportunities, how to calculate and understand the importance of “per household retail sales” based on monthly government statistics, IRS migration tables; the comings and goings of Pike County, and more. Attendees will learn how to build their own website in 30 minutes, the costs involved, and how to position a business for on-line customers. Reservations are required for both seminars that will cover the exact same subject with a maximum seating of 15 persons for each session. One will be on March 15, from 7:30a.m. to 9:00a.m. and the second will be on March 22, from 5:30p.m. to 7:00p.m. Both will be held at the Pike County Chamber offices at 209 East Harford Street in Milford. The fee is $10 for Pike Chamber members and $25 for non-members. Call Tammy to make your reservation at 570-296-8700.
Pike economic group plans new marketing program
By Pocono Record
Published: 2:00 AM – 03/13/12

The Pike County Economic Development Authority will soon launch a marketing initiative aimed at increasing jobs, trade and commerce in the county. The program will include specialized solicitations for targeted industries. It will rely on a partnership with the Pike County real estate community in providing suitable parcels and expertise on land use and other options. Michael Sullivan, the new executive director of the authority, will hold a meeting with real estate agents from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. March 26 in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room at the Pike County Administration Building. For reservations, call 570-296-8700.
New Executive Director Hired
The Pike County Economic Alliance Committee, a committee of both the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and the Pike County Economic Development Authority, is pleased to announce the hiring of their new Executive Director, Michael Sullivan. The committee chose Sullivan after culling through over 75 resumes submitted for the position. Twelve individuals meeting the strict requirements of both an economic development background as well as Chamber of Commerce experience were interviewed. Mr. Sullivan, with extensive background in Sullivan County’s Partnership for Economic Development and Orange County’s Chamber of Commerce, will be instrumental in helping to bring economic growth to Pike County. His most recent experience in facilitating the sale of Arden & Horton Hospitals in Orange County will be of great benefit to Pike County. Outreach to existing as well as past Chamber of Commerce members to determine how the Chamber can be of benefit to them holds a high priority on Mr. Sullivan’s to do list. According to the Economic Alliance Committee Co-Chairperson, Marcia Guberman, “Mr. Sullivan’s hiring is the culmination of 8 months of work to bring the best candidate forward to lead the economic growth of the County by bringing new business to the County and helping to grow existing business, thereby following the missions of both organizations.” Mr. Sullivan is expected to begin work on Monday, February 13. A reception is planned to introduce Mr. Sullivan to the all of the Boards of Directors of both organizations, neighboring Chamber of Commerce Executive Directors, State Economic Development Directors and County elected officials on Tuesday, February 21.
Local business owner published in new book for women
Pike County Courier January 19, 2012

Productivity coach helps ‘get it all done,’ co-authors book.

MILFORD — Local business owner Cena Block of Sane Spaces, LLC, specializes in working with professional women and businesses challenged with productivity, time and people management. Her chapter titled “Getting it All Done” is featured in a new book out this year titled “The Unstoppable Woman’s Guide to Emotional Well-Being,” by Erika Gilchrist. The book is written by 24 authors, and is a wonderful resource for all unstoppable women. As women have evolved to represent 49 percent of the workforce over the past forty years, many still are required to provide the lion’s share of childcare, errands and domicile responsibilities. Because of this, women have experienced the effects of stress in their lives, relationships and health. “So many women I speak with in both professional and personal relationships struggle with everything they need to accomplish on a daily basis” says Block. “A major reason women constantly feel stressed and overwhelmed is because many have a hard time balancing their commitments and obligations. Most often, those who struggle most have a habit of prioritizing everyone else’s needs ahead of their own.” In her chapter, “Getting it All Done”, Block offers self-reflective exercises designed for unstoppable women to explore. “Investing the time to re-evaluate your current day-to-day actions can make a world of difference in your level of stress and mental mindset. Managing your internal factors make all the difference in the world between an unstoppable woman who is happy while accomplishing it all, and one who is miserable.” Block introduces five key ways to get it all done and be well at the same time: Understanding your perspective and whether it serves you. Here, her perspective inquiries guide you to explore the “meaning” you place on experiences and things in your life. Knowing what is most important to you. Here she helps you identify and define your core values and why you are drawn to do what you do. Understanding what motivates you, repeatedly. In this segment of her chapter, Block introduces the idea that to get motivated, you must focus on eliminating dissatisfaction in your life. Minimizing your personal barriers and limitations. This segment talks about making the best of your strengths and talents, and getting assistance with your gaps. The final piece of advice on how to be unstoppable and get it all done, centers around making a contribution and giving back. In addition, the book has 23 other chapters to motivate unstoppable women. Block says that “If you’re in need of a great way to jump-start your year, get a copy today.” It is available in print on her site, (
NJ newspaper notes property tax rates are driving outmigration to Pennsylvania and other areas
Sunday Jan 22, 2012
by Star-Ledger Guest Columnist Mark Magyar
Property tax, not income tax is NJ’s real problem.
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POSITION AVAILABLE: Executive Director Economic Development Authority/Chamber of Commerce:
As the Chief Administrator for the Pike County Economic Development Alliance Management Board, the incumbent is responsible for providing administrative and professional assistance to the Alliance Management Board and, as required to the Chamber Board and Economic Development Authority Board, in the implementation of the strategic plan adopted by each Board. Primary duties are the development of new business/industry in Pike County, and the retention and expansion of existing business thereby creating job opportunities, strengthening the tax base and establishing diversity in the economic foundation of the county, and other duties as deemed necessary by the Alliance Board of Directors. Salary dependent upon experience. All resumes should be sent to:
Local Physical Therapy Practice Opens New Location
Milford, PA ( November 16, 2011)
Access Physical Therapy & Wellness is excited to announce the opening of its newest office in Milford, PA. Access’ latest effort to provide even more communities with convenient and exceptional physical therapy services.
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Advance Auto Parts store will open in Matamoras, Pa.
By James Walsh Published: 2:00 AM – 11/24/11
MATAMORAS, Pa. – Advance Auto Parts will open a store Monday at 106 Wenlock Road. As general manager, Ryan Edmonds, an Advance Auto Parts team member for five years, will be in charge of the store. Advance will be employing eight people at this location, which will be open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday. Information about employment opportunities, customer services and online shopping can be found at
Ribbon cut at new Dunkin' Donuts.
By Peter Becker The News Eagle Posted Nov 17, 2011

Palmyra Twp. (Pike) — Dunkin’ Donuts is open on Route 6 Lake Wallenpaupack, ready to satisfy your taste buds with savory coffee, donuts, muffins and more. A ribbon cutting was held Thursday morning Nov. 17, with refreshments on the house. The franchise opened for business the week before. “This will be a real asset,” said Tom Simons, Chairman, Palmyra Township (Pike) Board of Supervisors. “People have been asking me, ‘When’s it coming? When’s it coming?’” He said it was talked about for years and there was skepticism it wouldn’t happen. “I personally love the coffee,” Alvin Myers, a Hawley Councilman said. He’d love to see peanut sticks offered, but added the Bavarian creams are really good too. “I think they’ll do well,” he said. Owner Mrs. Mittal Patel cut the ribbon. She also operates franchises in Port Jervis, Matamoras, Lords Valley and Milford, and has plans to expand in 2012. Patel said she first opened in Port Jervis 14 years. Her brothers and sisters-in-law help her in the business, which she said is why they are so successful. Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru is open 24 hours and the interior is open from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Patel plans to become involved in developing outreach programs to schools, churches and similar civic organizations. Pocono Lake Region Chamber of Commerce issued a statement congratulating Patel for her achievements and noting there have been many positive remarks about the business addition. Palmyra Township was instrumental in the process of opening the franchise. George Irish, real estate developer, said that he arranged for the purchase of the property from local dentist Dr. John Evanish, to Scandale Associated, Dickson City. Patel has a 20 year lease with Scandale. Dr. Evanish had purchased the property after a fire destroyed the Route 6 Professional Building on the site, on April 21, 2008. The new restaurant employs 25 people. Dunkin’ Donuts is located just south of Wallenpaupack Area High School, on the east side of Route 6.
Press Release from Pike County Economic Development Authority and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce
Tuesday November 1st 2011 The Pike County Economic Development Authority and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the formation of the Pike County Economic Alliance, bringing the two organizations together in a collaborative working enterprise structure.
The formation of the Pike County Economic Alliance was spearheaded by the Alliance Taskforce Committee whose members were appointed by each organization. The Alliance Taskforce Committee conducted an investigation of economic support organizations in comparable counties throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Drawing upon examples of other successful working alliances in these counties, the Committee developed a plan which will focus on Pike County’s economic stimulus. The Economic Development Authority is principally charged with bringing new business to the County and the Pike County Chamber of Commerce is charged with strengthening existing County business. Each organization will continue to maintain its individual mission, objectives, Board of Directors and Committees. “The Taskforce has done an outstanding job in moving this project forward. We are very excited to see their long hours of research, deliberation and planning come to completion in the formation of the Alliance. This effort will greatly enhance our ability to support the local economy,” commented Dave Farrington, Board Chairman of the Economic Development Authority. As a working alliance, together the organizations will accomplish their shared objectives of utilizing a more efficient use of resources and a united management effort under a joint Executive Director. This alliance will enhance financial efficiencies within each organization, resulting in a stronger economic environment through cost saving benefits. A search for one Executive Director to head the Alliance and manage both the Chamber and the Economic Development Authority is underway. Job description information may be found on both the Chamber’s website and the EDA’s website
Pike County EDA seeking grant dollars
Monday October 24th 2011

MILFORD – The Pike County Economic Development Authority is working to bring grant dollars to Pike County. This fall, the EDA Board of Directors approved sponsoring applications through the Monroe County Local Share Account Gaming Grant Program for the Delaware Valley Foundation / DV School District and the Pike County Business Park. Additionally, the EDA staff assisted Milford Borough with developing its application. The Monroe County Local Share Account program is funded by tax revenue generated from gambling at Mount Airy Casino Resort in Monroe County. Those promoting eligible projects in Monroe County or contiguous counties can apply for funding through an eligible applicant such as the EDA. More information on the program can be found online at Past projects the EDA has also facilitated grant funding for include the visitor’s center at Grey Towers National Historic Landmark, the Mountain Laurel Center for the Performing Arts and the Pike County Public Library. The EDA receives information on grant programs through a weekly grants newsletter and has made that information accessible to municipalities, community organizations and local businesses. “Attracting financial resources to Pike County is an important aspect of economic development,” stated Rachel Hendricks, Deputy Director for Economic Development at the EDA. To obtain information on grants or public financing opportunities for your organization, check out the EDA’s website at
Shohola businessman buying Altec-Lansing property
Renewed manufacturing planned as Altec remains as a leasee, By David Hulse Pike County Courier
MILFORD — Maurice Ryman, the owner LP Cylinder Service Inc. in Shohola on Monday won township approval of his plans to renew manufacturing at the 193,000 square-foot Altec-Lansing facility, which he is purchasing. Altec Director of Operations Mary O’Neill said her company, which is relocating corporate offices to the West Coast, plans to lease back a portion of the property and maintain offices, storage and some repair facilities, employing 12 full-time and up to 30 temporary workers. Ryman who services LP gas tank users around the northeast, said he had built out his Shohola property and new directions in the business would require additional space. Changes in his business involve production of patented plastic covers and bases for tanks of all sizes. Both the covers and plastic formula are patented, he said. The demand for them has outstripped his ability to make them in Shohola and he said he plans on occupying the 80,000 square-foot northerly warehouse space on the 20-acre parcel for manufacturing. Ryman’s plastics division would start with some six employees, and he said demand would dictate its expansion. He said the snap-together base units have found other applications in what seems to be a growing market. In addition, Ryman also is planning to reintroduce American-made valves for LP tanks, which had been replaced by cheaper foreign made valves. Those valves Ryman said have proved to have high failure rates. He is aquiring the original American design, and wants to assemble the new valves in Milford. Ryman noted that Altec has contracted for a five-year lease, While their plans appear to be fluid, he said that other industries have made inquiries to Altec about locating in the space in past and he anticipates their will be other leasees on the property. The supervisors approved a conditional zoning use permit for a change of use, noting that other business activities beyond Ryman’s and Altec will need additional approvals.
Workforce Wayne gets $53000 grant for phase 2 of CTC project
By Josh Wengler Wayne Independent

Honesdale, Pa. — After years of feasibility studies and preliminary planning, Workforce Wayne’s key project — getting a Career and Technical Center (CTC) built in the area to train Wayne and Pike County students — has moved into its second phase, thanks to a $53,000 grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission.
Preparing to go to bid, new Pike County Library
By Kelly Waters The News Eagle Posted Aug 02, 2011 @ 12:41 PM

Milford, Pa. — Pike County Commissioners on July 27 heard an update about the Pike County Public Library. President of the Library Board, Rob Rohner, talked about some of the progress towards starting the library construction. “The one million dollar grants are secure and the engineer is in the process of completing the bid documents,” says Rohner. He says that if all goes well there should be groundbreaking by October. He also says that the community room will be named the Tom and Jean Hoff Community Room. Members of the Friends of the Pike County Library spoke up as well. They mentioned that they are selling T-shirts for $15 in support of the library, and they will also be hosting a two day book and bake sale on the weekend of Sept. 17-18. The sale will run from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Sept. 17, and from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Sept. 18. It will take place at the American Legion building on Water Street in Milford. All proceeds from each of these sales will go towards helping the library. Earlier this year the Library Board approved plans for a $2.5 million facility to be built on property that the library owns on East Harford Street in Milford. The building will consist of a 5,900 square foot main level, with a lower of 5,000 square feet of usable space for future expansion..
Final Rt. 6 Heritage Communities Report on Milford Released
Milford, July 28, 2011: The Pike County Economic Development Authority hosted the presentation of the final Rt. 6 Heritage Communities Study for Milford on July 26th. An overview of the study was presented by Rt. 6 Alliance Executive Director Terri Dennison to a packed room including representatives of Milford Borough Council, the Pike County Board of Commissioners, the Pocono Mountains Visitors Bureau, Milford Business Council, Pike County Chamber of Commerce, Pike County Light & Power, and the Milford Enhancement Committee. The study is the culmination of an eighteen month process involving approximately seventy members of the community, several focus groups and a survey of Milford area businesses. Funding for the study was provided by the Rt. 6 Alliance with local sponsorship from the Milford Enhancement Committee supported by Pike County Light & Power. Jim Pedranti, Co-Chair of the study committee and a member of the Milford Enhancement Committee reminded those present, “This does not mean the process is over, it’s just beginning.” The study will be analyzed by the various groups over the next several weeks following which implementation of the highest priority recommendations will begin. The nearly 150 page study contains recommendations on planning and zoning, business practices and tourism strategies, even physical improvements to boost tourism. Milford Borough recently committed to applying for a grant which would fund several initiatives relevant to the study’s recommendations. The study can be referenced to bolster funding applications. The Northeast Pennsylvania Alliance which acts as the coordinator for the Heritage Communities Program in Northeast PA presented the group with an initial overview of grant opportunities to facilitate the various recommendations.
Milford Heritage Communities
Altec Lansing is keeping Milford, PA, warehouse – By Beth Brelje
July 21 2011 Altec Lansing has clarified its future plans for its Milford, PA facility as it moves part of its operations to San Diego.
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Milford Borough partners with EDA and business community to attract grant dollars
EDA point of contact for energy efficient and historically appropriate window replacement projects
Milford, July 15 2011 The Milford Borough Concil is applying for Monroe County Local Share Gaming Grant for revitalization of the downtown with the assistance of the Pike County EDA and the Milford Business Council..
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Pike County Economic Development Authority available to facilitate Local Share Gaming Grant applications for Pike projects
Subject: Next round of Gaming grant program opens for applications on July 1
Milford, June 23 2011 Massive state budget cuts do not affect the availability of funds through the Local Share Gaming Grant Program so the Pike County EDA is again soliciting high quality projects to sponsor for this very competitive program ..
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Pike County Economic Development Authority now on Facebook
Milford, May 25 2011: The Pike County EDA is pleased to announce a new Facebook page.
600-acre business park accelerated in PikeRealtor Davis Chant tasked with marketing, selling land

By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Writer June 09, 2011

New efforts to sell the Pike County Business Park in Blooming Grove Township are aimed at bringing more jobs to the county. The Pike County Business Development Corporation signed a nine-month contract with Davis R. Chant Realty in March to market the 613-acre property to be sold as a single parcel or as 36 individual lots ranging from three to 35 acres. The land, which currently has no businesses, is being offered at $20,000 an acre. The business park, on Route 434, is near the Route 6 intersection across from the entrance to the private community of Camelot Forest. It is 3.5 miles from Interstate 84 and five minutes from the Lords Valley exit. The land has a sewage treatment facility with limited capacity. More capacity could be added, Davis Chant said. “You can drive from the business park to any area in Orange County, N.Y., in about an hour,” Chant said. “Orange County has 23 business parks. There are companies there looking to expand outside Orange County.” Some of the companies have inquired about the Pike Business Park, Chant said. Chant will soon show the land to a group from the Hudson Valley that is interested in buying parcels. After showing the business park, he will give them a tour of Hemlock Farms, a gated community with homes ranging from $150,000 to more than $1 million, Chant said. He is pushing the idea of living five minutes away from work. A short commute is a luxury many Pike County residents dream of. “In Pike, over 60 percent of the workforce commutes out of the county, giving up a huge chunk of their life. This demonstrates a need for more local job opportunities,” said Rachel Hendricks, deputy director for the Pike Economic Development Authority. This commuting population is one obstacle the authority faces when courting new businesses. When workers leave the state for work, the authority does not know what kind of jobs they commute to. “Demonstrating a skilled labor force can be a challenge,” Hendricks said. The authority is exploring the possibility of doing a study that will define the skill sets of Pike County commuters. The Pike County Business Development Corporation board of directors bought the land for the business park in 1997 and completed sewage and road improvements in 2003. It had a contract to sell the entire business park to developer John Herman in 2008. Herman wanted to swap the existing site for a portion of state game lands between I-84 and the Pike County concrete quarry off Route 739. The proposal had to meet approvals from federal and state government agencies to proceed. After a long process, the contract to buy the land expired, Hendricks said. The corporation negotiated with Herman but did not reach an agreement to extend it. That is why the business park is again on the market.

Majestic Westfall cinema set to debut Friday

By Beth Brelje Pocono Record Writer May 17, 2011

The long-awaited, seven-screen Majestic Cinemas theater in Westfall is expected to open Friday evening, Majestic-Star Entertainment President Nelson Page said. Workers still have plenty of tasks to finish transforming the former Grand Union grocery store into a 1,300-seat theater at the Westfall Town Center. Wild purple carpet with a popcorn-and-movie-reel pattern goes down today. New, high-back rocking seats, still covered in protective plastic, give off a sort of new-car smell in each auditorium. The cinema has been under construction for the last six months. Page and partner Tom Ferrie signed a deal in late 2010 to take on the $3 million project, which includes full digital 3-D projection and sound and wall-to-wall screens. Majestic-Star has headquarters in Teaneck, N.J., and operates several theaters in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. The idea of building in Pike County came after two previous attempts to locate a theater in Matamoras failed to materialize, Page said. The new cinema will be the only theater in a 20-mile radius and is expected to draw a large audience, Page said. Films expected to open at the theater are the latest installment of “Pirates of the Carribean” on multiple screens, “Bridesmaids,” and “Thor.” Films coming soon include; “Kung Fu Panda 2,” “Super 8,” “Transformers,” the final “Harry Potter” installment, “Cowboys and Aliens” and “Captain America.” Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for kids under 12. Event pricing for 3-D movies is $13 for adults and $11 for kids under 12. For information, visit the cinema website,, or call the theater for show times, 570-491-2900.

New employer seeking qualified individuals to staff Pike location
Pike EDA assists new employer with locating qualified workers
Milford, May 11, 2011: The Pike County Economic Development Authority is spreading the word on job opportunities with a new employer to Pike County. The company is hiring for two positions at this time, Customer Service Representative and Manager. Descriptions of the opportunities are: • Fulltime customer service representative in personal and commercial insurance. Experience needed. Computer skills, people skills, ability to get licensed and trained to ensure clients receive the highest level of service. New employer to the area with a 50 year history in NY metro area. Ability to process endorsements, check policies, work with underwriters Experience with Sagitta system Insurance preferred • Full time manager for insurance office – must demonstrate proficiency in training and managing employees and handling day to day operations. Insurance experience necessary. Report directly to agency owners. New employer in the area with 50 year history in NY metro area. Must demonstrate the ability to have a relationship with our company underwriters and managers and understand audits. Management experience required. Individuals meeting these descriptions interested in these positions should email resumes to Rachel Hendricks at the EDA at Mrs. Hendricks stated, “We cannot give out further information at this time for the confidentiality of the business.” Hendricks expounded by indicating that the level of interest and availability of skilled labor is the most critical factor to ensure this employer’s commitment to the area. The EDA has been working with this business for the past few weeks to meet their needs in starting a local operation. Candidates will be contacted by the company principals for interviews as appropriate.
The mission of the Pike County Economic Development Authority is to strengthen the economic vitality of Pike County by implementing strategies and managing programs to attract, promote and sustain businesses and employment. For additional information on the EDA check out our website at or contact the office at 570-296-7332.
Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center Set to Reopen After Four Year Absence. The Music is Back in the Pocono Mountains with a Summer Concert Series Featuring Some of the Top Musical Acts in the World
(Bushkill, PA) April 19, 2011 – For the first time since August of 2007, the Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center ( will open its gates for a summer concert series. Pennsylvania real estate company, Wolfington and O’Neil Property Group, is proud to be bringing entertainment back to the Pocono Mountains’ premier outdoor amphitheater in a big way with a summer lineup featuring both music and comedy. “The Pocono Mountains have long been known for its entertainment offerings,” said John Wolfington, CEO, Wolfington and O’Neil Property Group. “However there has been a music void for nearly four years, but with the reopening of Mountain Laurel, the music is truly back in the Pocono Mountains.” The 2011 summer concert series will kick off in July, and feature such top acts as Kiss, ZZ Top, Larry the Cable Guy, Frankie Valli and the Beach Boys. Additional acts will be added over the coming weeks. Tickets go on-sale, through Ticketmaster, on April 21. There will be entertainment for everyone and every age group– from timeless classics to Rock and Roll. Since its first concert in June 2003, the Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center has been a favorite concert destination for local residents and vacationers. Located minutes from the Delaware Water Gap, off Route 80, and only 75 minutes from New York City, the Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center draws concert-goers from three states. It offers world class artists as an affordable alternative in the backyard of the Pocono Mountains, free from the inconvenience of city or shore traffic. “The Mountain Laurel summer concert series is a must for the full Pocono Mountain experience,” added Wolfington. “We hope people will come for the concert and stay for the hiking, hotels, racetrack, casinos and so much more. When you come early and stay late, you’ll see that Mountain Laurel makes a concert more than just a show.” To ensure the success of the reopening of The Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center, Wolfington and O’Neil Property Group brought in The Total Concert Team to manage the facility. With strong community roots, linked with nationally regarded booking and promotional expertise, the new management group boasts nearly a century of venue and entertainment success. But while, their primary focus will be bringing world-class entertainment back to the Pocono Mountains, they also understand the importance of the PAC to Pike County. “Revitalization of the PAC offers greater tourism opportunities as a gathering space, not only for individuals and families on vacation, but also industry groups who pick the Poconos as a convention site,” said David Rodriguez, Total Concert Team. “The financial impact to the region from visitors should be significant, as many concert-goers will spend multiple days in the region.” The Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountain Performing Arts Center will also be giving back to the local community in other ways. A group of East Stroudsburg North High School parents, called The Band Group will act as ushers and assist in parking. Instead of compensating the individuals for their work, the PAC will make the payment to the Band Parents Association. This program not only supports local music, but fosters the goal of keeping music alive and vibrant in the Pocono Mountains. So, not only is the PAC bringing music back to the Pocono Mountains, they are looking to make sure it never goes away again. Current Summer Concert Schedule: Concert Date Performer Wednesday, July 13th KISS Saturday, August 6th Larry the Cable Guy Saturday, August 20th ZZ Top Thursday, August 25th Frankie Valli and Beach Boys *** For complete ticket pricing and on-sale dates please visit About The Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center The Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center is the premier outdoor amphitheater in eastern Pennsylvania. Since its first concert in June, 2003, Mountain Laurel has been the home to performances from some of the top entertainers in the world. A state-of-the-art amphitheater, the Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains Performing Arts Center seats 2,500 under cover, and another 7,500 people on its luscious lawn area. You can remain connected to Mountain Laurel Pocono Mountains PAC performance updates by following us on Twitter via or become a fan of the official Facebook page For artwork, interview requests or more information, contact: Rob Bailey Deborah Bailey Rob Bailey Communications Bailey Design & Advertising 201-760-0200 x101 570-251-1512 201-819-1134 (cell) 570-228-6513 .
Milford Theatre set for rebirth. Owners start renovations for May opening
MILFORD, Pa. — Jerry Beaver set the closing date for his purchase of the Milford Theatre on April Fools’ Day because he thought it was unlikely to happen. But Beaver was the one who was fooled. “The closing went very smoothly,” he said, a little astonished. Beaver, a casting director in Manhattan, longtime Pike County resident, and founder of Milford’s Black Bear Film Festival, bought the Milford landmark with his business partner, Dru Whitaker, who owns two technically oriented companies in the New York City metro area. On Monday a crew arrived to start repairs. Beaver and Whitaker hope to open the theater in May. While some might see the theater as a disaster of an old building, Beaver sees a space for live theater, lectures, music, dance and screenings of classic films and art house films. “Everybody deserves a bit of entertainment,” he said. “And (Pike County) deserves a place where the community can come together.” The historic Milford Theatre has seen better days. It was built for summer touring companies in Milford’s heyday. But the theater closed two years ago because of disrepair. After that, countless people were linked with ambitious plans to revitalize the old live theater-turned-never-quite-profitable first-run-movie-house-turned-boarded-up building. Ironically, Beaver wasn’t associated with any of these plans. But when the owner of the building made him an offer, he decided to just do it. On Tuesday Beaver and several workers were on their second day of assessing the renovations. “I can’t tell you how much it will cost,” he said. “It keeps changing.” In his role as a casting director, however, Beaver is used to seeing potential. He was one of the first to see potential in actor Edward Norton and was instrumental in getting him cast in the movie “Primal Fear,” his breakout film. He also was one of a group of people who helped to form the Signature Theater Company in Manhattan, where he worked with distinguished American playwrights like Arthur Miller, Edward Albee and Romulus Linney. But “his baby” is Milford’s Black Bear Film Festival, which he founded and ran for a number of years. The festival used to center on the Milford Theatre but after it closed, it had to move its screenings to Delaware Valley High School. That took the festival out of the main business district, much to the chagrin of business owners. “There are really two reasons to do this,” said Beaver, standing in the middle of the theater’s stage. “There’s economic development and there’s enriching the cultural life of the community.” He paused and looked around. “And I want people in Pike County to be able to see the same films I see in Manhattan.”.
GOP chair Hummel named to replace Forbes as Pike County commissioner
March 16, 2011 Pike County Republican Committee Chairwoman Kathy Hummel has been named as interim replacement for Pike County Commissioner Harry Forbes. President Judge Joseph Kameen chose Hummel from 13 applicants on March 8. Sitting commissioners Rich Caridi and Karl Wagner made no mention of the appointment at Wednesday’s regular meeting, which Hummel did not attend because she is out of town. Hummel is a board member of several local organizations, including the Pike County Chamber of Commerce and Pocono Lake Region Chamber of Commerce. She will serve as commissioner through the end of the year and is not running for another term. Republican candidates aiming for the commissioner seat in the May primary are Milford Councilman Matthew Osterberg and Delaware Valley School District board member Pam Lutfy. Both applied for the interim commissioner position. Caridi a Republican and Wagner, a Democrat, are also up for re-election this year. Commissioner terms all run at the same time. In addition to Hummel, Lutfy and Osterberg, the other 10 applicants for the interim commissioner position were Milford residents Jan Hurwitz, James Price, Douglas Luhrs, Donald Quick, Randolph Gregory, Timothy Ludwig Haken and Kurt Brink; and Neal Grim of Hawley and Robert Phillips and David Farrington of Shohola.
Route 6 Heritage Alliance to present tourism plan
MILFORD — On Monday, the Pennsylvania Route 6 Heritage Alliance will present its plan to encourage tourism across PA US Route 6, and more specifically the Milford area. The presentation will be at the First Presbyterian Church on Broad Street in Milford, on March 21, at 11 a.m. Their presentation is in conjunction with the Milford Enhancement Committee’s (MEC) 13th annual Spring Workshop, which brings allows several community organizations a platform to review and discuss important updates, as well as the MEC’s annual report. After nearly a year of planning, meetings and community feedback, the Route 6 Heritage Alliance, along with the NEPA Alliance, is ready to unveil their tourism plan for the area of Route 6 that runs through the Milford area. This plan of integration of the community and its resources is aimed at attracting additional investments, businesses and tourism, as well as boosting the local economy. The workshop will begin with a continental breakfast, followed by the meeting at 9 a.m. At approximately 11 a.m., the Pennsylvania Route 6 Alliance will present their plan. This program has been made possible by community input, including focus groups, and has been in the making for a year. The local organizations spearheading this undertaking are the Milford Enhancement Committee and the Pike County Economic Development Authority. Lunch will be served around 12:30pm, provided by Pike County Light & Power (PCL&P).
Pike and Monroe county populations soar
March 10, 2011: Pike and Monroe were Pennsylvania’s second -and third-fastest growing counties in the past decade.
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Milford public relations director speaks to high schoolers
March 08, 2011 12:00 AM Katrina Foster, President & Founder of kkpr Marketing & Public Relations, the innovative, boutique marketing and public relations agency based in Milford, spoke to a business and marketing class at Delaware Valley High School for the third annual National Entrepreneurship Week on Feb. 24. In celebration of the National Entrepreneurship Week, business and marketing teacher Maura Angle from DVHS worked with Rachel Hendricks, the deputy director for Economic Development at the Pike County Economic Development Authority to create Entrepreneurs in the Classroom. The program brought five different entrepreneurs from the community to speak to various students involved in the business and vocational technology programs at the school. “If it wasn’t for my mentor giving me a shot, teaching me the ropes and harvesting my talent, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” said Foster. “Because of that, I have a strong commitment to fostering and teaching young talent, whether I am speaking at a school, mentoring someone or hiring them to work on my staff.” The students had the opportunity to ask any questions about opening and operating a business. For more than an hour the students of Angle’s class learned all about KKPR, the marketing and communications industry and what it’s like to be a young entrepreneur. “Katrina shared her story with students at Delaware Valley, along with several other local entrepreneurs,” said Hendricks, an advocate of the entrepreneurial spirit. “Our students were able to glean from the entrepreneurs what it takes to be successful in business today. Expanding their awareness of the opportunity to create job opportunities for themselves by being an entrepreneur is a crucial step in building an entrepreneurial culture here and that’s our long term goal. The Entrepreneurs in the Classroom program does not work without community minded business people like Katrina giving of their time.” KKPR, Kconceptual Kreations, began in 2006 and has grown from a one-woman, home-based business to a burgeoning boutique agency that currently includes additional publicists, designers, and administration staff. For details, visit or call 570.296.2333.
Pike County Economic Development Authortiy concerned about new DEP regulations
Milford, February 3, 2011: The Pike County Economic Development Authority is highly concerned about the adverse impacts of the recently adopted Pennsylvania Department of Enviromental Protection Chapter 102 regulations. The EDA is urging citizens and business owners to review information on these regulations and contact their legislators..
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Pike County celebrates National Entrepreneurship Week
Pike County Commissioners proclaim February 20-26 as Entrepreneurship Week in Pike County Milford, Milford, February 9, 2011: The Pike County Economic Development Authority is pleased to announce that today the Pike County Board of Commissioners proclaimed February 20-26 as Entrepreneurship Week, kicking off the local celebration to coincide with National Entrepreneurship Week. The proclamation indicated that entrepreneurship is vital to the county’s growth and prosperity, the creation of new jobs, and an integral part of the dreams and pursuits of many young adults. The celebration of National Entrepreneurship Week was acknowledged as “an opportunity to focus on the innovative ways in which entrepreneurship education can bring together the core academic, technical and problem solving skills essential for future entrepreneurs and successful workers in future workplaces.” Entrepreneurs are the foundation of economic development in the Pike County area and throughout the nation. “Owning and operating a business is both challenging and rewarding. Many hard working business owners make up the backbone of our local economy. We commend and celebrate these risk takers for their contributions and we encourage the development of more small businesses in Pike County,” said Commissioner Richard Caridi. Other activities being coordinated by the EDA as part of the 3rd annual Pike County celebration of National Entrepreneurship Week include Entrepreneurs in the Classroom, a program collaborating with teachers, local entrepreneurs and students in vo-tech, business and entrepreneurial classes at Delaware Valley High School and a seminar offered in collaboration with the Small Business Development Center of the University of Scranton entitled “First Steps to Opening a Business” which will be held on Tuesday, February 22nd at the offices of the EDA from 6 to 8 PM. There is a no fee to attend this event in honor of Entrepreneurship Week. To reserve your place, please pre-register with the EDA office at 570-296-7332 or The Pike County EDA serves as an outreach location for the Small Business Development Center at the University of Scranton and partners with them to provide free small business counseling for the support of entrepreneurism in the area. The SBDC works with clients in Pike County who are pre-venture or already operational businesses and can provide assistance in a myriad of topics, not limited to but including, writing a business plan, development marketing and financial plans, accessing new markets, addressing human resource challenges, succession planning, conducting a breakeven analysis, or filing the appropriate paperwork to open a business legitimately. The SBDC has a large reference library accessible to Pike County residents at the University either directly or through their professional staff and partners with the EDA to bring educational seminars to the community. Initial information on accessing the SBDC’s services is available by contacting the EDA office. The EDA also offers a reference library of print and online resources available to the community which includes information on the national and local market, financial data on many industries, including start-up, operational costs and profit margins, basic information on many franchises and as well as access to top websites on topics such as building a business plan and marketing. Recently the EDA expanded the electronic resources available in the reference library to include access to a grants database. National Entrepreneurship Week is the brainchild of the Consortium for Entrepreneurship Education in Ohio, a national membership organization supporting entrepreneurship education. Nationally, this is the 4th year of the annual celebration of entrepreneurship. All three of Pike County’s Commissioners have entrepreneurial backgrounds, understand the challenges that entrepreneurs face and the environment in which they thrive. “Fostering entrepreneurship by providing resources within the county strengthens Pike County’s economy and our future,” said Com. Harry Forbes. “We would like to thank the entrepreneurs, teachers and school officials as well as the SBDC and EDA staff members who worked to coordinate all of these activities.” The Pike County Economic Development Authority office is co-located with the Pike County Chamber of Commerce at 209 East Harford Street in Milford and can be reached at 570-296-7332 or .
EDA makes grants newsletter available to the public
Milford, December 20, 2010: Pike County EDA is expanding access to grant information for Pike County organizations. Right now interested individuals can sign up to receive the weekly GrantStation Insider e-newsletter at no cost to them. “This newsletter is available to us through our subscription to GrantStation. By distributing the newsletter, we are leveraging our subscription to provide more efficient access to timely information on available opportunities via email throughout the community.” The newsletter contains information on private and government grant opportunities as well as resources for building a grant writing program. “We are very pleased to make this opportunity available and partner with local organizations to attract additional financial resources to Pike County,” said EDA Chairman David Farrington. To sign up to receive the e- newsletter or to make an appointment to search the database for grant opportunities, please contact Tammy Savarese at or 570-296-7332. Pike County EDA is a non-profit municipal authority with the mission of strengthening the economic vitality of Pike County implementing strategies and managing programs to attract, promote, and sustain businesses and employment.
Pike County Economic Development Authority Announces Location of to Westfall
Milford, Sept 7, 2010: Pike County Economic Development Authority today announced that has located their first office in the Westfall Township Building.
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Local Jobs Saved
Milford, July 28, 2010: Local garment manufacturer, Malhame Vestment Company will remain in Pike County when it relocates later this year. Malhame has secured a new location on the border of Westfall and Milford Townships, allowing the company to retain its current workforce. .
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Pike County Economic Development Authority brings over $650,000 into the community by successfully sponsoring gaming grant applications
Milford, July 3, 2010: The Pike County Economic Development Authority (EDA) is bringing over $650,000 into Pike County by successfully sponsoring two grant applications through the very competitive Monroe County Local Share Gaming Program this year. The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) recently announced that the EDA has been awarded grants for the two projects in Lehman Township.
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Pike County's celebration of National Entrepreneurship Week
Milford, March 31, 2010: Pike County’s celebration of National Entrepreneurship Week was bigger and better in its second year! The Pike County Board of Commissioners issued a proclamation declaring the celebration of Entrepreneurship Week from February 20th to 27th but inclement weather stretched the celebration throughout March!
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Pike County Economic Development Authority partners with Milford business community to publicize Milford as a Heritage Travel destination

Subject: Initiative to increase Heritage Travel to Milford
Milford, January 26, 2010: The Pike County Economic Development Authority is pleased to announce that Milford is now being promoted on the heritage travel website,, as a heritage travel destination! Gozaic is designed to “become the online destination of choice for cultural and heritage travelers and provide them with the tools to explore meaningful places and enrich themselves in their travels,” stated Scott Gerloff, Vice President of Partner Relations at Goziac in a recent communication with the EDA.

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PA Business Retention and Expansion Program poised to help Pike County businesses in 2010

Subject: Pike County economic development agencies to facilitate the BREP Program
Milford, January 11, 2010: The Pike County EDA is pleased to announce that the Pennsylvania Business Retention and Expansion Program (BREP) will resume in Pike County this January!

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Grants database now accessible at Pike EDA

Subject: EDA facilitates access to online grants database
Milford, December 28, 2009: The Pike County EDA, as part of its efforts to attract grant dollars to Pike County, is now offering local organizations the ability to search the GrantStation database right in their Milford office at no cost!

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