CLEARFIELD – Businessmen and community leaders gathered on Friday at Hedge’s Fine Food and Spirits to hear about a multi-million dollar asphalt emulsion project.
The facility will be built in the Clearfield Firemen’s Commerce Park, and will include investments of up to $10 million. According to officials, this project will create as many as 20 new jobs, including on-site and transportation personnel. It will be a 10 million gallon storage facility on roughly 19 acres of land and will bring in five million gallons of asphalt a year.
Once completed, this development would see 250 rail cars per year and a reduction of 1,000 trucks per year, which currently move hot, hazardous materials over the highways.
“The cooperation and good will needed to bring this to reality is exceeded only by the project’s many benefits,” said Clearfield Foundation Executive Director Tom Stojek. Today marks a new chapter in the continuing progress of the county’s industrial and manufacturing sector.
“On behalf of the Clearfield Foundation Board of Directors, we say thank you HRI, Representative Bud George, RJ Corman Railroad and Stone Consulting for this significant economic development partnership in creating and retaining jobs.”
John Kulka, president of HRI Inc., thanked everyone involved in getting the project where it’s at. He stated that the history of the project goes back two years. He said there were a lot of items to evaluate in determining the site, including location, cost, the timeline for implementation and transportation.
Kulka added that multiple sites were under consideration in New York and Pennsylvania. He said they wanted a site close to rail, highway and water. After looking at sites they developed a short-list, and the site at the Clearfield Firemen’s Commerce Park was the one they chose.
“This new facility will allow us to make Clearfield County the long-term hub for our emulsion business throughout our operating areas across Pennsylvania,” said Kulka. “The location of the Firemen’s Commerce Park, with its access to major transportation corridors, including both highway and rail, will enable us to efficiently deliver our products and services to a larger market.
Kulka gave special thanks to state Rep. Camille “Bud” George, D-74 Houtzdale, for his support of the project.
“We’re here to celebrate the fact that the road to job creation and economic improvement is paved … with HRI asphalt,” George said in good humor.
“We have one more step to make this victory complete, approval of the Rail Freight and Rail Transportation assistance to make the expanded rail access a reality,” said George. “The state grant would be the icing on the cake both for the asphalt project and to fulfill the Firemen’s Commerce Park’s potential as an economic powerhouse.”
The RFAP grant was submitted to PennDOT last month. The total amount requested in the grant is in the amount of $591,879. This project would include upgrade/maintenance on existing rail siding, including the replacement of deteriorated ties, line and surface track and turnout upgrades, as well as 1,300 feet of new track, grading and rail-support features.
The$845,542 upgrade for RJ Corman Rail would include a local match of $253,633 from HRI.
Kulka stated that he could not give a project start date due to the current market and the reduction in transit funds. He said when, not if, the market gets better and funding increases, the project will move forward.