Latest delay at Yorktowne disappoints

York Dispatch editorial board

Thumbs down — in disappointment rather than criticism — for yet another delay in the long-awaited reopening of the Yorktowne Hotel.

Blame supply chain issues related to custom-designed kitchen equipment, said the hotel’s managing director, Michael Blum. Again. A similar reason was given for pushing the historic venue’s most recent scheduled reopening — over the summer –— to this month.

Had all gone to plan, the landmark structure would have been back in business in 2019, three years after its 2016 closing. Instead, the renovations have rivaled the Mount Rose interchange project on I-83 as the most overdue venture in York County.

The Yorktowne Hotel in York City, Monday, Nov. 7, 2022. Dawn J. Sagert/The York Dispatch

Not to mention over budget. While the Mount Rose project came in about 10 percent higher than estimated, the roughly $54 million final tally at the Yorktowne will run about 170 percent past the initial $20 million projection mentioned in its state grant application.

All will likely be forgiven, however, if the city’s most distinctive landmark reemerges successfully. Blum said his team is “pushing hard” to get the venue open and we believe him. A flag-raising ceremony on the hotel’s roof this month only whetted the public’s appetite to see the doors opened.

With staff in place, advance room bookings weeks away, and a number of gala-opening events in the offing, there’s much to look forward to. Fingers crossed the current delay is the last.

Thumbs down for a recent environmental nightmare in western Pennsylvania.

A leaking natural gas-storage well near Pittsburgh spewed some 100 million cubic feet a day of methane into the atmosphere for at least 11 days this month.

The leak was discovered by gas-drilling company Equitrans Midstream in its Rager Mountain storage facility on Nov. 6. Residents from a four-mile radius reported hearing the loud hiss of gas escaping and smelling the unescapable scent of methane. The Federal Aviation Administration even restricted air traffic from within a mile of the well.

The company was finally able to plug the leak by flooding the well, but it took until Nov. 17. By that time, more than 1 billion cubic feet of emissions may have escaped into the atmosphere.

Adding a note of irony, the leak coincided with this year’s U.N. Climate Change Conference. Methane is among the potent greenhouse gases of which the nearly 200 countries at the summit are seeking ways of reducing future emissions.

Thumbs up for Pennsylvania’s record-low unemployment rate in October.

According to the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, the state’s jobless rate ticked down one-tenth of a percent last month to a record 4.0. That’s up slightly from the national rate of 3.7 percent, but a significant drop from the 5.6 percent rate of one year ago.

The labor department pegged the state employment count at some 6.2 million while reporting just over a quarter of a million were seeking work.

“This is a historic opportunity to reflect on the critical value of each and every worker in the commonwealth,” Labor Department Secretary Jennifer Berrier crowed. “Collectively, Pennsylvania workers are the engine of a world-class economy.”

And that engine is getting greased by higher wages, according to the state Independent Fiscal Office’s October report: “The very tight labor market, low labor force participation rate and contracting demographics will continue to apply upward pressure on wage growth.”