Vision 2019 | ‘Keep the momentum going’: Development continues in, around Ebensburg

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Vision 2019 | ‘Keep the momentum going’: Development continues in, around Ebensburg

The Taco Bell location in Cambria Township is shown in October, shortly before the fast-food restaurant’s opening in October 2018.

While the economic development along Cambria Township’s Route 22 corridor has been obvious over the past two years, 2018 was a year full of business expansions, ribbon-cuttings and groundbreaking ceremonies in the township and Ebensburg Borough. 

Adelphoi officials showcased more than $1 million in renovations of Cambria County’s former juvenile detention center along Manor Drive in Cambria Township in May. 

Cambria County’s commissioners opted to close the facility in 2016 and Adelphoi then signed a five-year lease agreement with the county to offer secure placement and enhanced supervision programs for delinquent juvenile males ages 12 to 19. 

The 15-bed secure program offers treatment for juveniles who committed chronic offenses or are runaway risks. 

An enhanced supervision program is in a 14-bed unit that’s an alternative to Adelphoi’s secure programs and provides an increased level of care from a typical group home environment. 

Along with treatment, educators from Appalachia Intermediate Unit 8 visit the facility to ensure each juvenile is completing school work through a partnership with Central Cambria School District. Adelphoi is partnering with St. Francis University by providing guest lecturers, participating in cooperative research studies and offering a work scholars program. 

The Adelphoi opening brought 32 jobs required to operate the facility, most of which are full time and offer benefits and starting wages around $13 per hour. 

The lease agreement between Adelphoi and Cambria County allowed the Latrobe-based nonprofit organization to pay no rent for the first 18 months. 

Rent after that period is $1,200 per month and will increase to $2,000 per month by 2022. A five-year renewal of the lease agreement will include rent payments of $5,000 to $6,500 per month from 2022-2027.  

With fresh paint, technological upgrades and a comprehensive surveillance system installed, Adelphoi officials said the center would have been twice the price to build from scratch. 

Brews, gear and health care

During the month following Adelphoi’s launch, two local businesses held ribbon-cutting ceremonies in Ebensburg Borough. 

Self-taught brewer Mike Kutchman opened Coal Country Brewing along High Street, offering coal-themed brews and decor, along with local food vendors featured on certain weekends. 

Kutchman renamed his honey ale “Rusted Rail from the Ghost Town Trail” and donates a portion of sales from each pint to support the Cambria County Conservation & Recreation Authority’s efforts to maintain the trail. 

Kutchman is developing Yellow Canary Winery next door, continuing the coal-mining theme for a different client base. 

Jenn Dumm opened Dumm’s Outfitters in the former Napa Auto Parts store, also along High Street.  

The store features hunting and fishing equipment, outdoor accessories and clothing – along with an indoor archery range and a Technohunt range for virtual archery. 

The store sells state hunting and fishing licenses and offers Dumm’s expertise as a certified bow technician. 

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was also held in June for UPMC’s new $19 million outpatient center on Zeman Road along Route 22 in Cambria Township. 

The 45,000-square-foot center will house Primary Health Network’s newest location, UPMC Altoona Cove Surgical, Magee Women’s Specialty Services – OB/GYN, UPMC Centers for Rehabilitation Services, UPMC Altoona Elite Orthopaedics, UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program and UPMC Altoona Blair Medical Associates cardiology, neurology and dermatology. 

Outpatient services will include lab and electrocardiogram services and imaging services, such as X-ray, mammography and ultrasound. There is the capacity to offer mobile magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography imaging as well.

Hair cuts, back adjustments

In July, Brittany Rankin of Northern Cambria opened Rankin’s Rusty Scissors Gentleman’s Salon along South Center Street in Ebensburg Borough. 

Rankin said she picked Ebensburg because of its central location and community reputation. She and her husband spent three months renovating the space across from Cambria County Courthouse, transforming the site into a salon catered specifically to men. 

Chiropractor John Brouse and his wife, Casey, a clinical nutritionist, celebrated the expansion and relocation of their Ebensburg Borough business in December. 

Brouse Chiropractic and Nature’s Farmacy moved into the former Sheetz location on High Street after 10 years on the same street nearby. 

Along with exam rooms and rehabilitative space, the office offers digital X-rays and a ZYTO nutritional scanner that identifies individual patient needs, trouble areas and any possible toxins.  

“We’re able to offer a lot more to patients here,” John Brouse said.

The office is also home to Nature’s Farmacy and Goods, a retail store offering items that were previously hard to find in the area for those hoping to combat chronic disease and improve their health through dietary changes. 

From chemical-free cleaning and beauty products to gluten-free food items, the store also offers non-toxic sweets, essential oils safe for children and pets, along with raw milk and cheeses from Clover Creek Cheese Cellar in Williamsburg. 

Centralized health services

The latest development along the Route 22 corridor in Cambria Township came at the end of October, when officials from Conemaugh Health System held a groundbreaking ceremony for a $22 million outpatient center near the interchange of Route 22 and Route 219. 

When completed late this year, the 41,500-square-foot Conemaugh Ebensburg will consolidate five existing Ebensburg offices, including three Conemaugh Physician Group offices, Crichton Rehabilitation along High Street and the MedWELL urgent care center on Jamesway Road. 

All those facilities are rented by the health system. 

“This will be the first building we’ve owned,” Doug MacMillan, vice president for support services, said after the program. 

Some of the Ebensburg-based services date back three decades, Conemaugh President and CEO William Caldwell said. 

“We have a unique opportunity in terms of continuing the legacy that goes back 30 years in this community,” Caldwell said. “By having all those pieces under one roof, from a patient’s and family’s perspective, it makes it a little bit easier.”

Roughly half the one-story Conemaugh Ebensburg facility will be physicians’ offices and the facility will include primary care, cardiology and other specialties, with an opportunity to bring in additional specialties on a rotating basis. 

Also included will be laboratory services, the MedWELL urgent care center, physical and occupational therapies, corporate care, women’s diagnostic services and an imaging suite with X-ray, magnetic resonance imaging, computed tomography and ultrasound.

Ebensburg Commons theme

Dennis Simmers, chairman of the Cambria Township Planning Commission, said development in the township seemed to be sparked by retail activity – led by the arrival of Aldi, Taco Bell and Starbucks in Ebensburg Commons near Beulah Road along Route 22. 

“That was like a magnet,” he said. “We do not forecast a slowdown.” 

Aldi opened in December 2017 and was followed by Taco Bell’s opening in October 2018, followed by Starbucks’ opening in December. 

Kentucky Fried Chicken also announced in 2018 that it would open a location with a drive-thru and 31 parking spaces at Ebensburg Commons. 

Pittsburgh-based Century Development LLC now has one vacant plot at Ebensburg Commons, along with vacant retail space next to Starbucks. 

“The developer is actively pursuing” a tenant for those openings, Simmers said. 

Also this year, First National Bank demolished the former Dairy Queen location in front of the Walmart Plaza to make room for a larger location. 

Other developments included complete renovations of the Burger King at the front of the Walmart Plaza, completed in June, and the opening of La Fiesta, a Mexican restaurant with another location in Altoona, which opened in the building that previously housed The Cottage Restaurant. 

Cambria County commissioners say development along the corridor comes as no surprise. 

“All entities are working together in the private and public sectors,” said President Commissioner Tom Chernisky. 

“To keep the momentum going, we need to continue to work as a team.”

Route 22 corridor sets pace

Commissioner William “B.J.” Smith said he’s hopeful for more development in this area of Cambria County. 

“The Route 22 corridor is also experiencing growth because of its access to Pittsburgh, Johnstown, Altoona and State College,” Smith said. 

“We are looking forward to hearing more good news to come along the Route 22 corridor in 2019.” 

Aside from the Route 22 corridor, the township is seeing development elsewhere. 

R.E. Michel Co., a wholesaler for heating, ventilation and air conditioning contractors, is constructing a proposed 6,000-square-foot warehouse and sales facility off Hudson Street in Revloc, part of a plan to move from its existing location on Lloyd Street in Ebensburg Borough.

Expansion of the Cambria County Association for the Blind and Handicapped location in the county’s industrial park is also ongoing. 

Simmers said “a friendly, mission-oriented township” has created an environment to which developers and businesses are attracted. 

Danea Koss, director of community development for Ebensburg Borough, said ongoing projects will continue that progress. 

“The investments being made will further promote regional economic growth and will impact areas (such as) job creation, business development – and will provide a growing number of dining/service/health care options for area residents,” she said.

​Jocelyn Brumbaugh is a reporter for the Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter @JBrumbaughTD.

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