Robert Blair, president and CEO of Tioga County Development Corporation (TCDC) held a presentation at the Westfield Community Center on November 17 to explain the progress being made at the old Westfield tannery on Church Street. The first presentation was for elected officials and workers from the borough, the second was for local business owners and the third was for the general public. The comments and information in this article is from the general public meeting.
Helping with the presentation were Larry Foor of Foor & Associates Architects, and Patrick McCoy and Chuck Frantz from SSM Group Inc. Engineering & Environmental Services. These two firms were awarded the contract for professional engineering and architectural services on the 17.6-acre property. Northern Tier Regional Planning & Development Commission (NTRPDC) and TCDC jointly hold the mortgages and Westfield Municipal Authority owns nearly seven acres of the parcel.
Blair said, “Foor and SSM Group will partner to develop a master plan for a business park that will involve layout and design.” A representative from SSM presented some of the positives about the site; the first thing he mentioned was topography, saying, “The site is fairly level and that will make it easy to develop. Also, the proximity to the borough center - the majority of it is in the borough and a small portion in the township - but it is a part of the community and has adjacent neighborhoods. That makes it easy to integrate with the community. There are a couple of creeks that are bordering or traversing through the property. Close Creek comes down from Seabrook House, goes past the office building and under another building before merging with Mill Creek which borders the eastern side of the property and runs along the old railroad bed.
“The railroad bed is a plus for us because it will give us some vehicular access to get the clean-up done. There are some pluses for us with routes 49 and 349 to access routes 6 and 15. This gets us in and out of the area relatively easily. We feel that there are four structures on the property that can be used.”
The other representative from SSM listed the challenges they are facing. “Part of Mill Creek is in a flood plain and we have to be careful with that as there are some restrictions that we have to follow. It’s next to a residential site so we have to be mindful of the noise impact; we have to be mindful of anything that will effect residents. There’s a lot of demolition that has to be done before we can move forward.”