NESHANNOCK TWP., Pa. (WKBN) – Plans to build electric vehicles in the area were dealt a setback when a development group in Lawrence County decided it was not interested.
Linda Nitch, executive director of the Lawrence County Economic Development Corporation, said plans were to build the Velfera Auto Design Group’s plant in Millennium Park in Neshannock Township — an industrial park near the intersection of state Route 422 and Interstate 376. Velfera was going to build large electric vehicles there, including RVs, ambulances and limousines.
“Their intention was to do their large vehicles here, in this location, and then bring their other vehicles, which they’re going to make in East Liverpool and test track all of them here in Neshannock Township, which would have been a great project,” Nitch said.
In November, Tony Pierce, Velfera’s Dallas-based chief executive, showed WKBN pictures of the small chassis vehicles he planned to build. Those plans included a plant in East Liverpool, a parts plant at Mercer County’s Reynold’s Industrial Park, a research center in Trumbull County’s Vienna Township and a second plant and test track in Lawrence County.
Nitch said the problem was that Velfera offered stock in the company as payment for the land owned by the corporation, and the Lawrence County Economic Development Corp.’s Board of Directors felt that was too risky.
“They just couldn’t do that. There’s a certain amount of risk they’re willing to take, but this was overly risky, in their estimation,” she said. “So, therefore, they had to reject that offer. They’re always willing to listen if there’s a new offer and cash actually put in the table.”
A meeting is planned Tuesday morning between Pierce and East Liverpool officials. The director in Reynolds said his discussions with Pierce have been very preliminary.
The status of the Vienna part of the plan is unknown.