So, yesterday I had the opportunity to visit Antrim Township and my head is still spinning. For those who might not be aware, Antrim Township’s 69.5 square miles surround the Borough of Greencastle and it is arguably the most developmentally active municipality in the County and among the most active of any situated on the 232.6 miles of the I-81 corridor in Pennsylvania.
Straddling Interstate 81 (with exits 1, 3, and 5) and being dissected by U.S. Route 11 and State Route 16, the Township is ideally situated for residential and business growth.
The population is 15,000+ and growing. Moreover, the Greencastle-Antrim School District is widely acclaimed as one the best in southcentral Pennsylvania as well the entire Cumberland Valley.
Acutely aware of its strategic location, the Township Board of Supervisors (past and present) have implemented land use policies designed to ensure planned growth. Commercial and industrial development is concentrated primarily along U.S. Route 11 in close proximity to I-81, with residential, agricultural, and recreational uses concentrated further away.
The Township has one of the premier municipal parks in the County, on par with Norlo Park, Washington and Greene Township’s parks as well as any in the Boroughs of Chambersburg and Waynesboro.
Over the last seven years, there has been upwards of $600 Million of industrial/commercial investments in the Township that has included roughly six million square feet of new industrial space.
It pales by comparison as to the construction currently taking place and that in which land development plans are being reviewed. There are plans to construct another 11 million square feet over the next 12-24 months. The projected investments exceed $1 billion. Using a rule of thumb formula that every 1 million square feet will create 500 new jobs, it’s reasonable to assume that 5,500 jobs will be created in the Township.
With all the development taking place, what about housing?
That is a great question and the answer is that there are active plans to build roughly 2,000 new homes in the Township ranging from multi-family developments to single family houses.
While the growth can appear overwhelming, the Township supervisors have not lost sight of their need to protect agriculture and recreational amenities. The goal is to allow growth that increases the local tax base and at the same time elevates the quality of life for all residents…current and future. To that point, it is important to note many of the Township roads will be upgraded to accommodate the increased traffic and new ones will be built as well.
Are there challenges?
Yes. The exit 5 interchange needs significant improvements as do both exits 3 and 1. There needs to be better cooperation between the Borough and Township with respect to the distribution of public water and sewer. But they are challenges that can and will be addressed over time.
The point is that Antrim Township can be a best-practice model for municipalities that are preparing for the future.