After years of speculation and literally mountains moved, Shell has officially announced this morning that they will be building their multi-billion dollar ethane cracker plant in Potter Township. Just moments down the road from Monaca, this decision could potentially have profound effects on the community for years to come.
As a result of its close proximity to gas feedstock, the complex, and its customers, Shell will benefit from shorter and more dependable supply chains, compared to supply from the Gulf Coast. The location is also ideal because more than 70% of North American polyethylene customers are within a 700-mile radius of Pittsburgh.
The project will bring new growth and jobs to the region, with up to 6,000 construction workers involved in building the new facility, and an expected 600 permanent employees when completed.
Mario Leone, Borough Manager of Monaca, remarked “This is exciting news for Beaver County and the Borough of Monaca” after finding out that Shell made their final decision.
Leone went on to say, “Monaca Borough is next door neighbors to this multi-billion dollar investment. We are poised to capitalize on the various ancillary businesses this once in a life time opportunity brings to our region”
Sentiments of excitement were similarly reflected by Beaver County Commissioners Egley, Camp, and Amadio.
“It’s another great day for Beaver County”, Chairwoman Sandie Egley said. “This announcement by Shell has the potential to be a game-changer not just for Beaver County, but for the entire Region. The Board of Commissioners would like to official welcome Shell as our newest residents and we look forward to continue cooperation for many years to come.”
“This investment will mean thousands of new jobs in Beaver County and will allow our area to continue to capitalize on the opportunities that shale gas has brought to western Pennsylvania”, remarked Commissioner Daniel Camp.
Commissioner Tony Amadio went on to say, “The positive impact this will have for family-sustaining jobs and economic development is incredible and Beaver County is in a great position to make the most of it. I don’t think we can overstate what this means for Beaver County’s future.”
A project of this magnitude is bound to create an influx of traffic into town. A 2014 study performed by PennDot that was released this year shows that the annual average daily traffic for Pennsylvania Ave was 9,400 vehicles per day in both direction. A number that is sure to grow once construction formally begins on the plant.
Leone went on to say, “We have to insure we strategically plan for this future growth. With the great news from this announcement we must now partner with our County, State, and Federal officials to work on putting in the necessary road infrastructure upgrades such as the 17th Street round-a-bout and Pennsylvania Avenue upgrades so that we do not have gridlock in Downtown Monaca.”
Borough President, John Booher, continued, “This means big changes for Monaca and Monaca needs to continue ‘Leading the Way’ more now than ever.”
Norm Ely, lifetime resident of Monaca and former President of Monaca Council for 10 years stated, “The Shell plant coming to Beaver County will not only help Potter Township, where it will be located, but will help all surrounding communities including Monaca. The ripple effect is going to be huge. All business in Monaca will see an uptick in business.”
One such business that could benefit from Shell’s decision is Whiskey Rhythm Bar & Grille. Ken Evans Jr, Owner of Whiskey Rhythm, indicated caution optimism for an increase in business, “It’s hard to tell just yet. My hope would be that Monaca accepts some of the opportunities and brings more business to Monaca.”
In regards to the influx of workers that will be in the area, Evans went on to say, “I think the next few years will be very interesting as a bar & restaurant. I will be specifically targeting the Shell construction workers. Whiskey Rhythm plans to add a few options for safe travel such as hotel transportation.”
As seems to be the resonating message throughout the county, Evans closed with, “Overall I think it’s a good day to be a Beaver County business owner and I’m looking forward to the future.”