Long-discussed connector road about to get underway in South Middleton Township
A Cumberland County businessman is about to reach his destination after a long and winding road to pave a connection between York and Trindle roads in South Middleton Township — opening up hundreds of acres of land for new development in the process.
Steven Rose, owner of Rose Metal Buildings, has started tearing down buildings he owns in the 1700 block of West Trindle Road to pave the way for a new one-mile road. The road will run through his property, beginning at 1745 W. Trindle Road, and connect with York Road near Fairview Street and Middlesex Road.
Rose is hoping that the state Department of Transportation will put the road, dubbed Rose Drive, out to bid to contractors this fall or early winter and that site work could begin by the end of the year. His goal, he said, would be to open the new road by the fall or winter of 2019 and provide another outlet for traffic between exits 48 and 49 off Interstate 81.
“This really unlocks this whole area and will help provide responsible economic growth for decades to come,” said Rose, who started buying up surrounding properties after a 2005 traffic study of those exits. In addition to his business, Rose also is developer of the Rose Business Park which is along West Trindle Road and would benefit from the new road.
The connector road has been on the agenda of local officials since then, along with improving access to I-81, as north-south travel is difficult in that area.
The area, east of Carlisle, also has long been seen by township and county planners as having a potential for growth.
For his part, Rose envisions a mix of retail and restaurants, office and light industrial uses being served by the new road on his property.
The new road also would benefit high-density residential and commercial zones that already exist near York Road and Mayapple Golf Course. Hundreds of homes are slated for the area, as is a large sports complex that the Cumberland Area Economic Development Corp. has proposed for an 89-acre tract of farmland on Lisburn Road.
Plans for future
The connector road is expected to cost about $7 million to build, with about $2.6 million covered by a state grant secured by CAEDC. Rose has guaranteed that all of the other funding is in place.
“There is a financial benefit, obviously, but someone has to take the lead and the risk,” Rose said. “For me, this project is about a road. This ground has been planned for development and has been frozen for decades.”
Rose also has spent millions of his own money to buy properties and work through the design of the road, which is nearly a straight shot from Trindle Road to York Road with an 8-foot-wide path for bikers and walkers.
Township Manager Cory Adams called the road and what it could mean for South Middleton and the Carlisle area an exciting opportunity.
“We think it will facilitate some economic development and alleviate some traffic issues,” he said. “I think it’s a tremendous step in the right direction.”
Shireen Farr, interim CEO at CAEDC, said the road will make the Carlisle area that much stronger. Rose Drive not only opens up access for the proposed sports complex, which could bring new visitors to Cumberland County, it adds opportunity for investors to build homes and shopping centers.
“It’s interesting when you get a chance to take a clean slate and imagine what it can be in the future,” said Kirk Stoner, the county’s planning director. “Steve has taken his time to do it right.”
Rose already has an on-site sewer and water system ready for future development in his business park off Trindle. Rose Metal occupies most of the buildings in the park, but Rose is prepared to relocate his operations to make room for other businesses.
He also owns some land on the opposite side of Trindle Road in Middlesex Township, which will be available for commercial development once the new road and traffic signal at Rose Drive and Trindle Road are built.
In addition, he has materials from a late 19th-century barn that his company tore down that he thinks could be incorporated into a brewpub, specialty retailer or other project.
“This could truly be a live, work and play development,” he said, noting that it could attract medical-office users, fast-casual restaurants, a hotel and other retail and service businesses.
Rose is confident that development around the new signalized intersection, which includes a retail pad site already being marketed, will proceed quickly once the road is built.
“Normally you wait for a tenant to commit, but I’m going to build it and then they will come,” he said.