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Carlisle plans to turn industrial site into community park & development

Written by Brett Sholtis/WITF | Nov 8, 2017 10:37 AM
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The former International Automotive Components factory site sits vacant in Carlisle. The site is slated to be redeveloped into a park, as well as a mixed-use area with retail, office and residential spaces. (Crystal Stryker/WITF)

(Carlisle) -- International Automotive Components used to make carpeting for automakers such as Ford and Chrysler.

After it closed around 2008, the vacant factory became a blight in the middle of downtown Carlisle. 

Now, the industrial site is slated to become a development that includes a community park, part of a statewide effort to clean up polluted land.

The Department of Environmental Protection classifies the 48-acre property as a "brownfield," land that has potential environmental hazards on it.

DEP Secretary Patrick McDonnell says brownfields need to be cleaned up before anything new can be built on them.

Since 1995, DEP has managed cleanup of 6,300 such sites, including everything from steel mills to shuttered gas stations.

The borough plans to redevelop the property into retail, office space, condos, walking trails, and a 3-acre park. The park falls under a new state effort called "Brownfields to Playfields," which cleans up polluted land and turns it into parks and recreation areas. 

McDonnell says, that's a positive development for Carlisle. "A blighted site right in the middle of the community is now being transformed into a community asset."

Carlisle Events, which runs Carlisle's popular auto shows, owns the property. 

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources and DEP have awarded Carlisle over 470-thousand dollar grant to start the project.

DCNR Secretary Cindy Dunn says her agency is involved because it has renewed its focus on providing walking trails for communities. "Today, we want to have a walking trail within 15 minutes of all Pennsylvanians." 

A DEP Spokeswoman says, people who think their community might have a space that could benefit from the program should get in touch with the agency.

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The fenced-off former industrial site is surrounded by businesses and homes. Carlisle officials say the more-than $470,000 cleanup and redevelopment project will turn a "blighted" space into a community asset. (Crystal Stryker/WITF)

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