Plans for a new Summa Industries plant in Reading, Pa., appear to be back on track now that a local political skirmish has been quelled.
Summa plans to consolidate four leased sites in Pennsylvania, California and Oklahoma.
For more than a year, the city and Summa subsidiary KVP Inc. have discussed construction of a plant to injection mold and fabricate modular plastic conveyor belts and chain products for use in food processing. For now, KVP operates in tight quarters about 10 miles away in unincorporated Bern Township.
``Reading is located within two shipping days from most of KVP's North American customers and is better positioned to serve its expanding European business than KVP's former principal location on the West Coast,'' said James Swartwout, Summa chairman and chief executive officer.
Summa originally anticipated getting into a new facility in the spring of 2004, but political difficulties have delayed the project, Swartwout said in a telephone interview. Reading's seven-member planning commission rejected the proposed KVP development July 22, citing potential damage to the environment near the Schuylkill River and Angelica Creek.
Mayor Joseph Eppihimer and city council members angrily criticized the rejection. To obtain a majority reversal, the mayor and council moved quickly to fill one commission vacancy, replace two commissioners whose terms had expired and expand the commission to nine members.
Reading competed for the KVP development with Danville, Va., according to Adam Mukerji, Reading's director of community and economic development. Reading's 8-acre tract, a long-abandoned, sanitary-waste-treatment facility, is eligible for an exemption from state and local corporate, property and franchise taxes through 2013. Reading plans to sell the land to KVP for $1, provide $1.4 million from a Department of Housing and Urban Development grant for the brownfield and dump cleanup, supply a $300,000 business incentive grant and back a low-interest HUD loan of $1.5 million for equipment and machinery purchases.
KVP proposes a 120,000-square-foot plant with investment of $6 million to $8 million for the construction and equipment.