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Harrington seeks federal funds for industrial park

Katie Tabeling

The Harrington Freight Study shows expanding rail access along Messicks Road, and subdiving the land into 10 lots, each no more bigger than 25 acres. | PHOTO COURTESY HARRINGTON MULTIMODAL FREIGHT TERMINAL FEASIBILITY STUDY

HARRINGTON — Harrington officials have filed a request for federal funds to support a potential industrial park that hopes to lift up the former rail town, with the support of Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Del).

The congresswoman has filed a request for a $3.34 million federal earmark grant for the Harrington Industrial park, a proposed park that could have 750,000 square feet of industrial space for various tenants. Studies have suggested the future industrial park off U.S Route 13 alongside Messicks Road could be subdivided into 10 lots.

If approved and granted by Congress, Harrington will use the funds for roadwork and extending sewer and water infrastructure at the proposed industrial park. Total infrastructure improvements are estimated at $20.3 million, with utility work costing about $5.3 million.

In 2022, the House Committee on Appropriations brought back annual federal project earmarks by creating Community Project Funding grants, where members of Congress could submit up to 10 projects for consideration in a fiscal year’s appropriation bill. Proposal of initiatives does not guarantee they will actually be funded.

Only state and local governments and eligible nonprofits can receive the funding.

The proposed Harrington Industrial Park is 131 acres in size and already has one tenant under construction. O.A. Newton President and CEO Rob Rider Jr. is building a 53,333-square-foot warehouse there for Matrix Power Coatings. The plant may employ up to 20 people.

Land for the rising industrial park is bordered by railroad tracks, and a study drafted by Whitman, Requardt and Associates back in 2021 suggested that leveraging that access would raise its marketability. It could move more than 200,000 tons of freight per year, with an estimated truck demand between 50 and 130 one-way trips per day.

Suggested layout is 10 lots, each varying between 5 and 25 acres each. Complete build-out, which could take years, could bring between 500 and 750 jobs.

The potential Harrington Industrial Park has already received $1 million from the state’s Site Readiness Fund, which went to a portion of the engineering and utility work for the site. 

Blunt Rochester, who officially kicked off her U.S. Senate Campaign on Aug. 19, will be advocating for Harrington’s request and other community project funding requests when the House of Representatives goes back into session this fall.

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