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Controversial Amazon Facility To Be Discussed At Churchill Public Hearing Tonight

Amazon Masks
Ross D. Franklin
FILE - In this Dec. 17, 2019, file photo, Amazon workers move containers to delivery trucks at an Amazon warehouse facility in Goodyear, Ariz. Starting Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, Amazon will be requiring all of its 900,000 U.S. warehouse workers to wear masks indoors, regardless of their vaccination status. The move follows steps by a slew of other retailers, including Walmart and Target, to mandate masks for their workers. In many of those cases the mandates apply to workers in locations of substantial COVID-19 transmission

The Churchill Borough council will meet this evening for a public hearing regarding a controversial proposal from the e-commerce giant Amazon. The company wants to build a distribution center at the former George Westinghouse Research and Technology Park in Churchill.

Jennifer Korona-Huffman is a Churchill resident and a member of the group Churchill Future, which opposes the development. She’s worried about the ways it could impact the environment and says the trucks coming and going from the facility could exacerbate the region’s poor air quality.

“Our climate is in crisis and Churchill could be part of the solution," she said. "But it feels like Council is choosing to be part of the problem”

A representative from Amazon estimated the facility would employ between 1,000 and 1,500 people full-time.

Churchill Future plans to protest the proposed facility ahead of tonight’s public hearing and the Churchill Borough Council’s monthly regular meeting. The protest will be held at 6 p.m. outside of the Churchill Borough building. According to Korona-Huffman, it marks the fifth time the group has gathered to publicly voice their opposition to the development. She said the group wants people to know that they’re serious about ensuring that Amazon does not build a distribution center in Churchill.

This is the borough’s fourth public hearing on the matter this summer. Three additional hearings are tentatively scheduled through the end of August.

Julia Zenkevich is a general assignment reporter for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at jzenkevich@wesa.fm.