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2017-05-12 / Community (County Spotlight)

Tioga County remains strong with manufacturing base, charming small towns

Spotlight on Tioga County
By Spencer Myers

Although the industry has began to recover from low natural gas prices, the northern tier looks to never return to the way things were during the boom. This is largely due to the heightened growth of drilling in the counties surrounding the Shell cracker plant, which has become a hub for natural gas transportation and soon for petrochemical refining. It makes more sense to get the gas out of the ground closer to its end goal and with New York and New England eschewing pipelines, Tioga County has ended up outside of the action.

With 23 permits to drill given by the DEP so far this year, the area still has moderate activity and the maintenance and eventual deconstruction of the wells in the area will keep companies around for years to come. The permits were primarily given to EQT Corporation, a long-time driller in the area.

Outside of the natural gas industry, the charming small towns of Wellsboro and Mansfield will always keep businesses in the area. To gain insight on the concerns of Mansfield, Marcellus Business Central spoke with Dawn Hull, who has been executive director for the Mansfield Chamber of Commerce for six years.

MBC: How has the chamber reacted to the idea of Mansfield University being shut down?

Hull: From a chamber perspective we are working on addressing economic impact on our community. Its closure would impact not only downtown businesses but also our home market. Most of the homes are rental space so when we don’t have the students to fill those houses, we will see a drastic impact in our economic status. Mansfield as a borough and Mansfield University have a very long history. They were established the same year and have always been connected as one. We are very fortunate to be able to have that history and to be able to be seen as one large entity verse two separate entities. So that would be a shame not to be able to have some of those resources that the students provide to businesses such as internships as well as employment because our restaurants rely on those students to be waitresses or just to be general employees. As well as enabling manufacturing or any other industry we have to recruit from the university.

MBC: What sets Mansfield apart as a place to live and a place to start your business?

Hull: The nice thing about Mansfield is that we are a small rural community that has a very rich history. We have the mom and pop type stores and survive because we are the crossroads between Route 15 and Route 6. The two major intersections that go through bring in a lot of tourism into our economy as well as a lot of pass-throughs, making it a great place to put a hotel or small downtown shop because we are right off of two major highways.

MBC: That transportation infrastructure must be great for manufacturers as well. Do you work with major manufacturers to keep them in the area?

Hull: We do. Our closest ones are Wrad Manufacturing Keystone north is here in the past history of the county several were located in wellsboro. Unfortunately two major manufacturers closed down in the wellsboro area. We have several industries in the area but we do not have factories per se.

There is one who does online sales and then the other manufacturers would be Keystone North or Ward Manufacturing to our North . We consider them all to be strong partners with us.

MBC: What annual events does the chamber hold?

Hull: We hold indepence day each year, home for the holidays, 1880 festival weekend, every thursday night. We work with the university to bring in amazing performers. We just had a Johnny Cash tribute band. We had Sublime come into town. Because we have a university, there is always tons of culture going on that we are able to tap into. Whether it’s great concerts up at the university or art students having a gallery opening, it’s a great opportunity for the community or any visitors to really capitalize on. .

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