The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

Local News

September 18, 2013

Laird's move disappointing for borough

SHARPSVILLE — Laird Technologies Inc.'s potential withdrawal from Sharpsville certainly wouldn't sink the borough - but it would take some wind out of its sails, said Borough Manager Ken Robertson.

"It will be a setback when Laird moves out," Robertson said Tuesday. "That doesn't take a lot of thinking to figure that out."

_On Monday the state announced it awarded a $2.5 million grant for a new $16.3 million center for Laird to be built at LindenPointe Innovation Business Center in Hermitage. The 70,000-square-foot building would mean 75 new jobs would be created by the electronics producer which currently employs 125 at its Sharpsville operations.

Laird has said itÕs 30,000 square-foot complex in Sharpsville is bursting at the seams and needs a much bigger building to expand. Hermitage officials said they are awaiting final approval of the deal from Laird Ð which could take up to two months. If the deal is approved Laird said it wants to move the Sharpsville operations to the Hermitage site by the end of 2014.

Sharpsville officials had more than just an inkling Laird was probably moving,Robertson said.

"We would be foolish to think that it wasn't coming," he said. "But it still hurts."

Based in London, Laird employs 9,000 worldwide. Locally though, the business and its succeeding companies has always called Sharpsville home and has meant a lot to the town. Laird is Sharpsville's largest private employer Ð Sharpsville School District is the largest overall. 

Robertson was clear that he was happy for Hermitage in getting the grant and being able to land Laird and wanted the company to grow and flourish.

"What's good for Hermitage is good for all of us. But if it's the moving of Laird from here to there, that's bad for Sharpsville. "We all paid to make that happen," he said of the grant which uses state tax dollars.

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