NORTHUMBERLAND — The asphalt lot along Route 11 just east of Northumberland holds plenty of potential for Button Holdings and Energy once they finish its project, according to State Director of the US Department of Agriculture Rural Development Bob Morgan.
Morgan on Friday visited the Point Township site of the incoming propane distribution business. The business focuses on the wholesale commercial and residential distribution of energy needs.
“It’s the possibility that several new businesses created or expanded, opportunities to provide heating fuel available in the community in a safer, more cost-efficient manner by taking trucks off the highway and making delivery distances much shorter,” said Morgan. “Those are welcome changes to how we live our lives.”
Morgan was joined by USDA Public Affairs Specialist for Rural Development Daniel Blottenberger; Jason Fitzgerald, of Penn Strategies; and Company CEO/President Ed Button. The $2.2 million development project includes the construction of six 80,000 gallon tanks and of a facility to transfer propane and butane from rail cars to the tanks. This job-creation project will replace the move of butane by truck from Washington, DC, bringing down the cost of energy to markets in the Susquehanna Valley.
Morgan said it is the job of USDA Rural Development to help economic development projects in rural areas come to fruition. They also do single family housing lending, community facilities assistance with equipment, construction and stormwater project.
“The idea is to help improve the economic conditions of rural America,” he said. “We’re always looking for opportunities and projects that might do that and help the economy function a little more efficacy in these communities.”
North Shore Railroad Company purchased the site in 2019 and contracted with Rhinehart Railroad Construction and LIVIC Civil Engineering to develop the site. North Shore was awarded a Rail Transportation Assistance Program (RTAP) designation through PennDOT for the project. This project has been awarded a $1 million Pennsylvania Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant.
Button estimates at least 40 full-time jobs for the area. Jobs include driver positions, terminal management positions and maintenance positions, he said.
“We’re closing the bids on Feb. 28 for infrastructure construction,” said Button. “We have three companies bidding on it currently. Once they’re in, we have a third-party consultant to help evaluate the bids.”
The goal is to break ground by April 1, said Button.
“We’re confident we’ll be up and running with gas in the tanks by the end of August,” Button said. “We’ll be delivering product, loading product, selling product.”
Morgan also visited Lycoming County this week where Bald Birds Brew Company and Nuweld Inc. benefited from business and industry loans.