CLEARFIELD – At Thursday afternoon’s annual luncheon, Chief Executive Officer Rob Swales of Clearly Ahead Development, the county’s economic development corporation, gave a review of the past year.
In 2016, successes included a dedication ceremony being held at the new Clearfield Riverwalk; project plans being developed for TAFCO’s expansion; and remediation wrapping up at the former Howe’s Leather site for prospective business growth in the Curwensville area.
Swales said promotional efforts have continued on part of Clearly Ahead of the Clearfield Commerce Park. It is Pennsylvania’s first certified food site, and this sets Clearfield County apart from its competitors with it being more attractive to prospective companies.
He noted plans were announced last year and continued to progress in 2016 for local manufacturer of commercial refrigeration products, TAFCO, to expand at the Commerce Park. He said plans were to construct a 100,000-square foot facility.
TAFCO officials are still looking to finish the construction of its new facility in the summer of 2017. TAFCO’s plans will retain 90 existing jobs and project job growth at 10 percent annually, according to Swales.
Also, Clearly Ahead officials, including Swales, and County Commissioners John A. Sobel and Tony Scotto were a part of a delegation that visited China in April and signed a sistership agreement with Lanling County. Officials met with major leaders in China’s energy intense industries and primarily the petrochemical and fertilizer companies.
This past fall, a delegation from China came to Clearfield County and took part in meetings with Clearly Ahead and county leaders. Swales said talks continue between Chinese and local officials on prospective investment opportunities in Clearfield County.
For 2016, Clearly Ahead reported 17 projects to Pennsylvania Energy Development Authority (PEDA) that resulted in a total capital investment of approximately $51 million. These projects created 153 new jobs while retaining 961 existing jobs, Swales said.
More specifically, 10 Clearfield area projects and seven DuBois area projects resulted in capital investments of $35.8 million and $15.2 million, respectively. Clearfield projects created 126 new jobs and retained 576 existing jobs, while DuBois projects created 27 new jobs and retained 385 existing jobs.
“It is local manufacturers and local companies investing in their communities, investing in their products and investing in their workforce,” Swales said. In 2017, Swales said Clearly Ahead officials will be aggressive in their outreach to local companies to facilitate growth.
Swales said promotion of the Clearfield Commerce Park will continue with site selectors in the upcoming year, as well as the pursuit of international investment opportunities.