GREENE TOWNSHIP -- Federal economic stimulus money could add nearly $5 million to a list of projects already under way at Letterkenny Army Depot.
Prior to the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, five construction projects worth more than $40 million were moving along at Letterkenny -- everything from a missile electronics shop to a child care center.
The arrival of stimulus checks would fund six additional projects -- more office space at the vehicle shop, improvements to a missile shop, better handling of hazardous waste, three houses, improvements to two existing homes and an industrial wastewater line.
"We've had projects before, but never this many at one time," said Glenn Trego, deputy director of Letterkenny public works. "It hasn't been this busy since I've been here. I started here in 1981."
Most of the projects are to be under way this year, all within two years.
Rodney Gettig, director of Letterkenny's public works, is not worried about finding enough contractors.
"That won't be a problem," Gettig said. "We have several contractors that work for us."
The stimulus funding has moved quickly, he said. Just a couple of days after the bill was signed, Letterkenny was asked to submit projects within a day. Gettig drew from a list of priority projects ready to go.
Less than three weeks later, U.S. Sens. Arlen Specter, R-Philadelphia, and Robert Casey, D-Scranton, announced some of the projects for Letterkenny.
Their list did not include three projects on the list that Gettig submitted.
The Army tells him stimulus money will be coming to pay for all of them:
- $749,000 to add a second floor to the main administrative space at Building 350. The construction should move offices out of the production area.
- $749,000 to alter a missile maintenance shop.
- $200,000 to repair the bathrooms and install new furnaces at the commander's home and the sergeant major's home.
Specter and Casey announced $3 million for three stimulus projects:
- $1 million to build three houses for military personnel.
- $1.25 million for sewer line from the generator shop (Building 37) to the industrial wastewater treatment plant at the other end of the industrial area. The contract is to be awarded in August. Letterkenny stopped using the existing 37-year-old pipe when it was found to be leaking, according to Letterkenny Deputy Commander John Gray. When parts currently are steam-cleaned, the water drains to a 20,000-gallon vat. The vat is pumped into a truck that hauls the water to the treatment plant.
- $749,000 to expand and enclose a hazardous waste staging area. The construction would free up space in Building 350 where hazardous materials are stored temporarily, Gettig said. The hazardous waste includes paint chips, old solvents, solvent-coated rags and leftover paint.
"I don't have any of (the stimulus money) yet," Gettig said. "All I know is what I asked for."
Here are depot projects already in the works and funded through sources other than the economic stimulus package:
- Lobar Construction, Dillsburg, won the $11.4 million contract in February to construct an Army Reserve Center. Site work has started on the project costing a total of $15 million. Completion: June 2010.
- A design contract was awarded in February to put wider doorways on ammunition igloos. The construction contract for the $7.5 million is to be awarded in September. Completion: October 2010.
- A $10.5 million theater readiness facility is under construction. Patriot missile electronics will be tested there in October. More than 100 people are to work there in September 2011. The mission transferred to Letterkenny as a result of base realignment in 2005.
- A $4.9 million Child Development Center has funding approval from the Army and Congress. The center on Georgia Avenue could care for 144 children of depot employees.
- Improvements to the industrial wastewater plant costing $2.75 million would bring the depot into compliance with environmental regulations. The design/build contract was awarded in September, Gray said. The contractor is testing biological treatments before starting construction in late spring. In November 2006 Letterkenny's industrial discharge water violated accepted levels for suspended solids and oxygen depletion. Within two months, Letterkenny and the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation had developed a plan to correct the problem.