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Posted on: July 25, 2023

WCIDC, Hempfield to work together to transform SCI Greensburg site

SCI Greensburg - Front cropped

— Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation (WCIDC) and Hempfield Township have agreed to work together to transform a 96-acre site along Route 119 that has been unoccupied since the Commonwealth closed the SCI Greensburg state prison complex in 2013. 

The cooperation agreement — which was approved by the WCIDC Board of Directors on July 13 and by Hempfield supervisors on July 24 — states that Hempfield is responsible for funding the purchase of the property and identifying the preferred land-reuse goal. The WCIDC will oversee the demolition of the 350,000 square-foot prison complex and manage remediation and site-preparation efforts. Both entities will seek grants and other funding to help cover redevelopment costs.

The partnership was prompted by Hempfield officials’ concerns that the prison buildings were at risk of deteriorating to the point of becoming nuisance structures.

“We have a plan, and our mission is clear. We want to rid that property of that building, and there is no other way but to demolish it. Nobody buys prisons,” said Chairman George Reese of the Hempfield Township Board of Supervisors. “Through this community partnership, we can accomplish this mission. We want to get that site ready, and let someone develop that property for the good of our township.”

Hempfield Township Manager Aaron Siko noted that this project very much is in line with the goals of a master plan that the township is expected to finalize later this year.

“For the past year and a half, Hempfield Township has been developing a comprehensive plan that will serve as a framework for decision-making over the next decade,” Siko said. “By partnering with the WCIDC to both tackle blight and spur economic development, this project exemplifies the township’s commitment to the objectives outlined in the draft comprehensive plan.”

One month after announcing that it will operate New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park with Regional Industrial Development Corporation, the WCIDC is happy to ink another partnership. 

“Collaborations like this enable us to have a greater impact throughout the county, so of course we’re excited to work with Hempfield Township to return this property to productive use,” said WCIDC Chairman Sean Kertes. “Partnerships are one of the main reasons the WCIDC has been able to accomplish so much during our 40-year history.”

Hempfield finalized the purchase of the property for $3.5 million last week. Once the buildings are razed and the property is made development-ready, the site will be marketed for sale.  WCIDC Vice-Chair Doug Chew — himself a Hempfield resident — is looking forward to seeing the property redeveloped.

“Given its location between the Greensburg and Youngwood business districts plus the fact that it’s within a short drive of the Turnpike, I-70 and Route 30, this site offers some interesting possibilities,” Chew said. “I wish it hadn’t been vacant for 10 years, but I’m glad to be able to support Hempfield’s effort to revitalize this property.”

Having successfully redeveloped the Monsour Medical Center and Jeannette Glass sites in recent years, the WCIDC is experienced at managing projects with demolition and site remediation aspects.

“While this project has some challenges, we don’t expect the remediation phase to be nearly as intense as that of the Jeannette Glass project simply because this wasn’t an industrial site,” said Jason Rigone, WCIDC executive director. “Of course, we are talking about demolishing 350,000 square feet of buildings, so yes, this is a sizable project, but through a strong partnership with our state leadership, we’re confident that we’ll be able to prepare the property for whatever use the township supervisors envision for its second act.”


About Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation

Westmoreland County Industrial Development Corporation is proudly celebrating four decades of economic-development in 2023. Founded in 1983 by the Westmoreland County Board of Commissioners, the WCIDC implements a comprehensive economic development strategy to promote growth in terms of job creation and economic output while providing a stable tax base for Westmoreland County. Through the development of a county-wide industrial park system, participation in public/private partnerships, and the operation of a responsive a Business Calling Program, WCIDC strives to foster business growth, resulting in job opportunities for the citizens of Westmoreland County. New Kensington Advanced Manufacturing Park will be the 20th asset in the WCIDC system.

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