Nestle Waters released a statement Monday about the future of a bottled water manufacturing facility in Benner Township or Spring Township in Centre County.
Nestle Waters had planned to bottle its Deer Park brand from Spring Creek for several months, but decided against the two communities. The company may still choose a location in northern Centre County, but Nestle Waters has not identified where that could be located.
"Centre County is still a leading candidate in our search for a third Pennsylvania bottling factory location, with an initial investment of $50 million," Nestle Waters spokeswoman Kerrin Gerripoli said. "We remain optimistic that we can find a source here in Northern Centre County so that we can bring jobs and investment to the area in the near future."
The company considered factors including "the quality and taste of the water, what the science tells us about the hydrogeology and sustainability of the site, the local watershed, the logistics of transporting the product to the market and much more," to make its decision.
Nestle Waters Natural Resources Manager Eric Andreus said there was no one factor that led the company away from Benner and Spring townships. He noted that the community's response to the proposed facility did not play a factor.
Spring Township Water Authority, Benner and Spring township supervisors, local schools, the Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County and "many local residents and businesses in the greater Bellefonte area welcomed us so warmly and embraced our proposed project," he said.
Hundreds of people appeared at a public meeting in March, and the majority of residents in attendance opposed the facility.
The decision to put the brakes on the proposed facility in favor of one in northern Centre County or elsewhere in central Pennsylvania might push back Nestle Waters' expansion plans by up to a year, according to Andreus. If another lot of land is chosen in Centre County, it's possible the area will not have the proper permitting in place, which will delay development.