A blighted Oxford Township property will soon experience a new life.
J.F. Rohrbaugh Co. Inc., a wood pallet manufacturing business, and Bruce L. Jones Contractor Company, a wall panel manufacturer, plan to move to 299 Brickyard Road, according to Adams Economic Alliance President Robin Fitzpatrick. The companies will add 20 manufacturing jobs to the local economy, Fitzpatrick said.
Several other manufacturing and distribution companies have also been in discussions to open facilities on the property, to be known as the Berlin Junction Manufacturing Center. Hanover-based ERY Properties purchased the former Alwine Brick Company site in 2018. Oxford Township supervisors are requiring ERY to improve roads, repair a railway junction on the land, and identify and fill mines believed to be located there, Fitzpatrick said.
On Wednesday, the Adams County commissioners unanimously approved advertising an ordinance that would make the property eligible for the Local Economic Revitalization Tax Assistance (LERTA) program. Oxford Township and Conewago Valley School District recently passed similar ordinances, Fitzpatrick said.
“This project is huge, it has so many components to it and I appreciate the partnership,” she said.
A LERTA defers increased tax assessments that would be triggered by improvements made to the property, Fitzpatrick said. The deferred amount decreases each year for 10 years, Fitzpatrick said.
The commissioners praised Fitzpatrick and other partners for their work on the property.
“This is one of the bigger economic opportunities we have in Adams County,” Commissioner Chair Randy Phiel said.
Berlin Junction has a rich manufacturing history dating back to the late 1800s when it was established by the Alwine Brick Company. The Alwine family acquired the property in 1885, relocating its operations from a nearby plant in Paradise Township, York County. The brickyard was strategically located at the junction of two rail lines, where it had access to a rail siding for the distribution of its manufactured products, as many as 40 million bricks annually, and mined material. These operations continued until 1978 when the last Alwine family member retired and ownership of the company was transferred to the Glen-Gery Corporation, which continued to manufacture bricks, as well as concrete blocks, until it ceased operations in 1993. Ownership changed hands once again in 1999 and the site remained fallow for the following 25 years.