This past weekend, there was a formal dedication of the new Westinghouse campus in Cranberry Woods. It’s an impressive place with four brand new buildings, more than a million square feet of interior space, and hundreds of millions of dollars in construction costs. It’s a huge investment in our community, and we are deeply flattered.
It’s especially flattering because our Township didn’t lobby for it. We didn’t go out and try to buy the company’s favor or try to snare it like some sort of battle trophy. Instead, it was a business decision – a good business decision, I might add. It was made after lengthy discussions with the Governor’s office and others who really, really wanted Westinghouse to remain in the state. Their interest is understandable; Westinghouse has played a major role in our region’s industrial history, and I’m sure it will be a key player in our future as well.
But even though Cranberry didn’t actively lobby to become Westinghouse’s new hometown, we did some things which we like to think made the company’s decision easier. Back in the early ‘90s, our Board of Supervisors began to craft a long-term vision for the Rt. 228 corridor. They directed our professional staff to design an environment where knowledge-based companies of the 21st century could settle and prosper and benefit our entire community.
That resulted in a number of important changes. They included expanding our transportation capacity, our water supply, and our workforce training resources, as well as improving our land use management and administrative efficiency. It also led to a number of new amenities for Cranberry residents.
We implemented a corridor management plan to designate future points of access from the highway serving Cranberry Woods. And we down-zoned much of this area from retail use to business park use. Down-zoning, as you can imagine, is a politically difficult choice to implement. However we see the Westinghouse decision to locate here as strong validation of that concept.
But beyond those steps, as important as they are, there was one quality we felt would be particularly critical to a successful relocation – and that was our promise to Westinghouse of consistency and uniformity in dealing with local officials. We promised the company that when they spoke to any of our local public bodies – the Township, the School District, or the County – they were speaking to all of us. And we told them that when any one of us would respond, we were speaking for the others as well.
I know it sounds simple, but building partnerships and creating this sort of collaboration requires hard work and constant communication. We know that getting conflicting stories from different units of local government can be a maddening experience. But we think we’ve lived up to our promise.
All of us want Westinghouse to grow and prosper. So as we go forward, we see Cranberry and its partners remaining in close contact with the company, collaborating where it makes sense, and continuing to provide the information that management needs to make the best decisions for their shareholders and employees.
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