Economic Development

Mercer Commissioners Oppose Grove City Landfill

MERCER, Pa. – Mercer County Commissioners Scott Boyd, Matt McConnell and Timothy McGonigle voiced opposition to a proposal by Tri-County Industries Inc. to reopen a landfill in Pine Township.

“I don’t have any problems speaking out against the landfill in Grove City,” McGonigle said at the Mercer County Commissioners’ Meet and Greet event. “I stand behind the people of Pine Township, Liberty Township, everyone around that area. They don’t want it and I don’t want it. So as long as I’m commissioner, I’ll be against it.”

Commissioners voiced their opposition during a meet-and-greet event Thursday that brought together leaders and members of the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce, the Grove City Area Chamber of Commerce, the Shenango Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Mercer Area Chamber of Commerce. The event has taken place for t10 years, said Mindy Trepasso, executive director of the Mercer Chamber. More than 80 people attended.

McGonigle noted that the Grove City Airport is in the vicinity as the landfill. An active landfill receiving waste attracts birds that could interfere with incoming and departing airplanes, he said.

“That is an unknown territory under the ground there. When they used that ground for dumping in the 1950s, you could imagine what went in there,” McGonigle said. “That place in Grove City was being used by the same people getting rid of the waste.”

The landfill has been inactive since 1990. The company plans to build a hill of waste over 10 years, according to press reports.

Much like McGonigle, Boyd is not in favor of the project. More truck traffic and exposure to possible toxins could drive people away from that area of Mercer County, he said.

“Taking into consideration for Mercer County to be more attractive for people coming into the area, the vital work we do to try to encourage tourism, overnight stays, shopping at the [Grove City Premium Outlets], we don’t want to do anything to discourage that,” Boyd said.

“We’re actually in the middle of our 10-year plan for waste management,” McConnell said. “That’s what we have to do as a county in order to make sure we have plans for where our garbage goes.”

While the commissioners are doing what they can, such as proposing a tipping fee, it’s up to state-level agencies to make the final review, he continued.

“We want to attract economic development, but I don’t want to be the garbage pit of western Pennsylvanaia,” McGonigle said. “I think we’re better than that. We have a lot more to offer here.”

Other topics of discussion at the event included the census for Mercer County, work near Interstate 80’s Mercer exit, new voting machines, a solar panel farm and fostering a new generation of first responders.

Fourteen years ago, the county acquired a gravel pit by the Mercer exit and it continued to be operated as a gravel pit up until now, McConnell said. The pit recently closed and it’s been reclaimed, he said.

Rick O’Brien, a national site locator for JLL, has two clients interested in the site, McConnell said.

“One went ahead and actually executed a sales agreement,” he said. “At the time it was executed, I didn’t jump for joy. I told everybody with caution it isn’t the fact that there’s a sales agreement in place. What’s really important is we have nationally recognized groups interested and still involved.”

For tax purposes, the project is on hold, but there’s a lead right now for part of it, McConnell said. There would still be enough space to erect another 1 million-square-foot center for distribution, he said.

In 2016, the county was approached by a nationwide organization that develops solar projects, Boyd said. The organization was shown many spots around the county and they ended up landing on a 166-acre site east of Jackson Center, he said.

The solar panel installation will be a $21 million investment, Boyd said. There has always been an interest in developing green energy it in the immediate area, he said.

“It’s coming,” Boyd said. “We’re excited to be a part of green energy here in Mercer County.”

Since 2014, more than 600 people in the county who were once licensed paramedics and emergency medical technicians, have not renewed their registration, McGonigle said.

“They didn’t get their licenses updated and the only way for those people to be reinstated would be to take the courses over again,” McGonigle said. “My family operates the largest ambulance company in Mercer County and finding good people who will stay with you is difficult.”

Pictured: Mercer County Commissioners Matt McConnell, Timothy McGonigle and Scott Boyd.

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.