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Growing HVAC Equipment Manufacturer Relocating To Former Fort Ritchie Military Base

Updated: Jun 14, 2022

Another small enterprise plans to find on the former Fort Ritchie navy base, marking one other step within the facility’s rebirth. “We’re excited to be part of it,” mentioned Jeff Steidl of JRJ Manufacturing. The firm develops and builds gadgets for heating, air flow and air-con functions. Jeff and Angie Steidl based the corporate in 2018. It grew out of the constructing on Market Square Boulevard in Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

JRJ Manufacturing began with three workers, Jeff Steidl mentioned. Now there are eight on the payroll. The firm might rent three to 5 extra workers over the following two years after transferring to Fort Ritchie, he mentioned. “It’s a household enterprise that has grown enormously in recent times,” mentioned Steidl. JRJ sources most of its elements from different corporations within the United States, he mentioned. For instance, the sheet steel is from a Frederick, Md. firm and the blowers are from an Ohio firm. “It’s all introduced right here and assembled,” he mentioned.

“I used to stay in Fort Ritchie”

JRJ will transfer into the previous Fort Ritchie PX constructing. “PX” stands for “Post Exchange,” a kind of retail retailer on a navy set up. Steidl mentioned the transfer to the Fort Ritchie constructing will give the corporate room to develop whereas staying near its roots in southern Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Moving into the constructing can even be one thing of a homecoming. “I used to stay in Fort Ritchie. My father retired from there,” Steidl mentioned. He remembers spending a while in what was then the PX constructing.

“The final time I noticed that was in all probability 15 or 16 years outdated, and now I’m 50, so it has been some time,” he mentioned. July 1st is the corporate’s goal date for transferring to its new facility. It is the primary time in years that the constructing has been occupied once more. And will probably be one other step in direction of revitalizing the property.

“Save this stunning place”

In 1998, the federal government closed the military base as a part of the bottom realignment and closure course of. Eventually, the county grew to become its proprietor.

In April 2021, county commissioners finalized a deal to promote practically 500 acres of the property to Cascade’s John Krumpotich for $1.85 million. In July, Krumpotich introduced a grasp plan for the property, which envisages a combined use. In January, the Washington County Board of Zoning Appeals granted a particular exemption that enables a customized auto elements maker to maneuver into the previous base commissary constructing.

Randall Harshman, who operates Harshman Automotive Inc. at 36 E. Water St. in Smithsburg, mentioned he plans to promote the automobile service and restore enterprise to concentrate on manufacturing customized elements. The firm makes use of computer-controlled machines to make the aluminum elements.

On Wednesday night, the zoning committee took an identical step to permit JRJ Manufacturing to maneuver into the previous PX constructing.

“It’s 30,000 sq. toes, and they’ll use all of it,” Krumpotich mentioned after the assembly.

According to the county’s planning and zoning codes, the bottom capabilities as a “particular financial zone” to permit for a number of makes use of. But opening a producing facility that features a meeting operation like JRJ requires a particular exception from the board. “Bringing this enterprise onto the property will probably be one other crucial step in Fort Ritchie’s revitalization,” Krumpotich wrote in a letter filed with the applying.

Krumpotich advised the board that the constructing had basically been deserted for the reason that navy left. Like different vacant buildings on the previous base, it has been the goal of vandalism. “Bringing one other enterprise constructing occupied by a local people member and bringing one other enterprise to Washington County will solely proceed to save lots of this stunning place,” he wrote within the letter.


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