Amazon ditches plans for distribution warehouse in Churchill

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Amazon itself won’t say exactly why it’s dropping plans for a $30 million warehouse in Churchill, only that it commonly looks at multiple sites and adjusts based on needs.Churchill Mayor Paul Gamrat admits his jaw dropped at the news — but he’s not commenting beyond that.Neither are members of Churchill Council, whose vote to approve was being challenged in court. Messages left with Churchill Borough Manager Alex Graziani were not immediately returned.Hillwood Development, which wanted to create a $300 million Amazon warehouse at the former Westinghouse site, has not responded to requests for comment.Opponents of the abandoned project are talking.”I think it’s a classic ‘David slayed Goliath’ story, right here in small Churchill borough,” Jennifer Korona-Huffman, of Churchill Future, told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4. “Our community is safe for now. We don’t have to deal with the negative environmental fallout from a project such as that mega warehouse that was slated to be built here in our residential community.”But losing the prospect of up to 1,500 new jobs is a disappointment for some others.”I think that they should have done it because we don’t have the jobs in this area. We lost all our good jobs with the mills. So I think, yeah, that would have been a good place for people to make a quick buck,” said Tom Strutt, who was shopping in Churchill.Lynn Sanker, who was shopping in the same plaza, said, “I thought it would be something that would be beneficial to the area, with jobs coming in and things like that. So I’m sorry to see that it isn’t going to be happening for us.”Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a written statement, “We are delighted that Amazon employs 4,000 workers in our region and continues to build logistics centers with sites in Findlay, North Versailles, Aleppo, and Fairywood. As they continue to expand their footprint, we look forward to working with them.Fitzgerald added, “It’s unfortunate that a small group of non-elected residents have slowed down this development and impeded the many jobs that could be beneficial to youth in the Woodland Hills School District.”Supporters said the facility would’ve brought new jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues that would help Woodland Hills School District.Those opposed to the warehouse put signs in their yards and protested in front of the borough building.Those in opposition said they were mainly concerned about excessive pollution and traffic as there are more than 400 homes surrounding the site and two nearby schools.Korona-Huffman said, “It’s time to go back to the drawing board. It’s time to get creative and not just take the first big name that comes up and try to say yes to it.”Amazon’s issued this statement:”We weigh a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future sites to best serve our customers.”” It is common for us to explore multiple locations simultaneously and adjust based on our operational needs.”” While we have decided not to pursue the site in Churchill, PA we are still committed to being a good neighbor, corporate citizen and community partner.” “We currently employ over 4,000 people in the Pittsburgh area and have contributed and committed over $2 billion in economic growth, infrastructure and employee compensation in the past decade. We look forward to continuing a great relationship with the region.”

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Amazon itself won’t say exactly why it’s dropping plans for a $30 million warehouse in Churchill, only that it commonly looks at multiple sites and adjusts based on needs.

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Churchill Mayor Paul Gamrat admits his jaw dropped at the news — but he’s not commenting beyond that.

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Neither are members of Churchill Council, whose vote to approve was being challenged in court. Messages left with Churchill Borough Manager Alex Graziani were not immediately returned.

Hillwood Development, which wanted to create a $300 million Amazon warehouse at the former Westinghouse site, has not responded to requests for comment.

Opponents of the abandoned project are talking.

“I think it’s a classic ‘David slayed Goliath’ story, right here in small Churchill borough,” Jennifer Korona-Huffman, of Churchill Future, told Pittsburgh’s Action News 4. “Our community is safe for now. We don’t have to deal with the negative environmental fallout from a project such as that mega warehouse that was slated to be built here in our residential community.”

But losing the prospect of up to 1,500 new jobs is a disappointment for some others.

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“I think that they should have done it because we don’t have the jobs in this area. We lost all our good jobs with the mills. So I think, yeah, that would have been a good place for people to make a quick buck,” said Tom Strutt, who was shopping in Churchill.

Lynn Sanker, who was shopping in the same plaza, said, “I thought it would be something that would be beneficial to the area, with jobs coming in and things like that. So I’m sorry to see that it isn’t going to be happening for us.”

Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald said in a written statement, “We are delighted that Amazon employs 4,000 workers in our region and continues to build logistics centers with sites in Findlay, North Versailles, Aleppo, and Fairywood. As they continue to expand their footprint, we look forward to working with them.

Fitzgerald added, “It’s unfortunate that a small group of non-elected residents have slowed down this development and impeded the many jobs that could be beneficial to youth in the Woodland Hills School District.”

Supporters said the facility would’ve brought new jobs and millions of dollars in tax revenues that would help Woodland Hills School District.

Those opposed to the warehouse put signs in their yards and protested in front of the borough building.

Those in opposition said they were mainly concerned about excessive pollution and traffic as there are more than 400 homes surrounding the site and two nearby schools.

Korona-Huffman said, “It’s time to go back to the drawing board. It’s time to get creative and not just take the first big name that comes up and try to say yes to it.”

Amazon’s issued this statement:

“We weigh a variety of factors when deciding where to develop future sites to best serve our customers.”

” It is common for us to explore multiple locations simultaneously and adjust based on our operational needs.”

” While we have decided not to pursue the site in Churchill, PA we are still committed to being a good neighbor, corporate citizen and community partner.”

“We currently employ over 4,000 people in the Pittsburgh area and have contributed and committed over $2 billion in economic growth, infrastructure and employee compensation in the past decade. We look forward to continuing a great relationship with the region.”



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