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State money will help keep and create jobs in northern Blair

Last week, Blair County received beneficial economic news in the form of more than $7 million in state funding designed to aid four companies in Blair County in job retention and expansion during the next three years.
Two of the companies that will benefit from the funding are in northern Blair County. The investments will aid the American Eagle Paper Mill in Tyrone, ORX, in Antis Township, The Warnaco Group, Duncansville and MeadWestvaco, Williamsburg.
In a press release from the governor’s office last Wednesday, Rendell said, “Our investments today are good news for Blair County because they will help a school office, envelope and time management manufacturer; a company that makes steel railcar wheels; a paper manufacturer and a women’s undergarment company expand and hire more workers. We are creating a positive business environment here and throughout Pennsylvania by making important, strategic investments.
“With this new support, and the backing of my innovative $2.8 billion economic stimulus package, Pennsylvania is revitalizing its towns and cities and is raising its business-friendly reputation, while encouraging business expansion,” said Gov. Rendell.
A press conference was also held last week at the Altoona Blair County Development Corporation. Department of Community and Economic Development Secretary Dennis Yablonsky and other officials attended the event.
Among those at the event was State Senate President Pro Tem Robert Jubelirer. He commented about the money coming to Team Ten LLC, operators of the paper mill. Late last week, he told The Daily Herald, “We worked together with them on this latest expansion. It’s been a great effort. They’re doing very well. It’s strong. Tyrone has its paper mill back.”
Senator Jubelirer called the news for all the businesses “a great week” for the region.
During last week’s press conference ABCD’s president and CEO Marty Marasco said, “ABCD Corporation’s corporate culture and strategic initiatives have always been based on relationship building. The announcements today are proof that we are creating a unique competitive advantage that supports the creation and retention of jobs and encourages investment and reinvestment in Blair County and the I-99 Innovation Regional Corridor in Pennsylvania.
“These collaborative efforts represent a formal partnership with the Department of Community and Economic Development, the Governors Action Team, our state and local elected officials, and the business community in our area,” added Marasco.
According to Gov. Rendell’s press release the funding will create at least 12 new jobs within three years and retain 215 existing employees when American Eagle enters the sheet paper market.
The move required the purchase of various paper machines and related equipment. DCED offered Team Ten a funding package totaling $725,000 that includes a $500,000 MELF loan and $225,000 in funding through the Enterprise Zone Competitive Zone Program. Team Ten, LLC President John Ferner said the mill had already put the equipment in place during a recent shutdown period.
“We’re happy the state works with us,” said Ferner.
He added the low-interest loans from the state help the mill. He said the state has helped throughout the process that led to the mill’s reopening in 2003 and since that time.
Also benefiting through the funding is ORX Railway Corp, a manufacturer of steel railcar wheels and axles, located in the Ardie J. Dillen Industrial Park in Tipton, Antis Township.
The governor’s press release noted the funding would create at least 15 new jobs within three years and retain 52 existing employees through the construction of a 60,000-square-foot addition onto their existing facility, upgrade machinery and purchase of additional machinery and equipment. The DCED offered ORX Railway Corp a funding package totaling $3.53 million, including a PIDA loan up to $2.25 million; a $500,000 loan through the Machinery and Equipment Loan Fund (MELF); $490,000 through the Enterprise Zone Competitive Program; $250,000 through the Enterprise Zone Training Assistance; and $30,000 in Job Creation Tax Credits; and $15,000 in Job Training Assistance. The total cost of the ORX Railways expansion is $7.9 million.