Longswamp residents speak out on possible warehouse project

East Penn Manufacturing proposing project

LONGSWAMP TWP., Pa. - Things got heated at times as folks living in Longswamp Township and other taxpayers in the Brandywine Heights Area School District gathered in the high school auditorium Wednesday for a back and forth on the proposed construction of an East Penn Manufacturing facility.

"First of all, we don't have a set plan for exactly what we want to do with the property yet, but we wanted to hear from the public," said East Penn Manufacturing COO Robert Flicker.

Richmond Township-based East Penn Manufacturing is one of Berks County's largest employers. Those against construction of a possible warehouse mainly cited issues with truck traffic.

"It's like a double-edged sword," Gretchen Reed said. "My concern is the truck traffic, because I drive every day to [Route] 222 and it's horrible."

Those who support the construction cited an increase in jobs and a fear of companies moving production elsewhere.

"Let's just get Deka to go to China or Asia or whatever," said Kathy Moll said. "I mean, what are these people thinking? We need jobs in this area."

A representative with the school district presented information in regards to potential revenue for the district and possible relief for residents, but one man wasn't convinced.

"I can't speak on behalf of the school, but me personally, I've never seen a tax decrease," Jeff Kokinda said.

As the process moves forward, Flicker said the company will address traffic issues, specifically with inbound drivers.

"Whatever we do, we want to make sure it creates jobs and that it's good for the public," he said.

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