I-Team: The Price of Progress and Jobs


(WBRE/WYOU-TV)       The Mayor of Hazleton says it could be  “The Savior of the City”. But many residents fear it could be the destroyer of their neighborhood. The controversy is unfolding over plans to bring in a new company into Hazleton. Eyewitness News first told you about the project in January.  The I-Team’s Andy Mehalshick has an update.

The people who live in the Birch Knoll Estates Neighborhood in the outside of Hazleton. Their homes are surrounded by untouched woods. That is now changing.

Work is underway to clear a 95-acre parcel of and for a massive warehouse or distribution center.

   “Well, primarily it’s the noise. If we are going to have a neighbor of this magnitude they need to be aware of our right to quiet enjoyment of our properties,” Said Chris Cannon of Hazleton.

  “We’re going to have noise going to have pollution we’re going to have trucks in an out. 2,900 in and out 2,900 trucks every day,” Said Paul Stulb.

 A developer is preparing the land for a yet un-named company that needs a 1.4 million square foot building. The land is located between Route 309 and the Southwest Hazleton beltway. In an area already zoned for industrial use.

These steel posts with the red and blue ribbons show how close it will come to these homes.

   “Looking out our window and seeing an industrial park back here. This is horrible. They say we are in their territory I don’t understand that according to the maps,” Said Tracy Fenstemaker, Birch Knoll Estates.

 Hazleton Mayor Jeff Cusat is pushing for the project –arguing it will bring in millions of dollars of tax revenues to the city and spur economic development in this part of the city.

We asked the Mayor about the Birch Knoll Estate Concerns.

  “Their concerns are being addressed and will be addressed they should give this project time to develop and see if their concerns were handled properly.”  

So why all the secrecy about who is moving in?. Mayor Cusat tells The I-Team the developer told him the company is concerned about its competitors finding out its next move in this part of the country.

   While the developer of the property is meeting all the requirements for construction – they’re not saying who they’re building it for.

          Whomever they are – this facility could be operational by the end of the year.

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