The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

August 27, 2013

Snyder County Commissioner trying to lure Conn. gun maker and hundreds of jobs

By Marcia Moore
The Daily Item

— SELINSGROVE — After viewing a news report about a Connecticut gun manufacturer threatening to move due to stricter gun laws in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting, Snyder County Commissioner Joe Kantz dashed off a letter inviting the company to consider Central Pennsylvania.

“It’s a long shot, but if there’s a chance we can get hundreds of new jobs, I’m going to try,” he said of his offer of the former Penn Lyon facility on Airport Road in Monroe Township to the unidentified gun maker.

To make the 50-acre site more attractive, Kantz has approached the Selinsgrove Area School board and plans to address Monroe Township supervisors tonight about applying for a Keystone Opportunity Expansion Zone (KOEZ).

If the KOEZ is approved, the company located at the site would receive significant tax breaks and priority for state and local community-building assistance programs for 10 years.

The deadline for applying for a KOEZ zone is Oct. 1, and Kantz said he simply wants to inform the school board and municipality about a potential plan to attract a new business with 300 to 500 jobs.

Kantz, however, is well aware it may be an uphill battle luring the company that is getting plenty of offers from other states.

Though Snyder County is one of only two Pennsylvania counties wooing the manufacturer, he said, at least six or seven other states are also negotiating for their business.

Kantz said he informed the company’s representatives that Central Pennsylvanians support gun ownership and would welcome them more than states such as Connecticut and New York that have tightened gun laws in recent months and sparked a mass exodus of firearm manufacturers.

In June, another firearm maker, PTR Industries, relocated from Bristol, Conn. to the more gun-friendly state of South Carolina.

The location Kantz is proposing for KOEZ status was occupied by Penn Lyon Homes before the modular home manufacturer was acquired by Haven Custom Homes in January 2011, which closed its doors in the fall of 2012.