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New Jersey environmental consultant hired as Lewis County planner

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LOWVILLE — After maintaining a seasonal home here for the past decade, a longtime environmental planning consultant from New Jersey has joined the Lewis County planning department.

“I’m looking forward to contributing to the community,” said Frank J. Pace, who began work last week as senior planner in the county Department of Economic Development and Planning. “This is a great place to live. This is where I want to be.”

“We’re definitely happy to have him,” said Eric J. Virkler, director of the now three-person department. “I think his experience and knowledge will be a good fit for what we do, and he seems very interested in benefiting Lewis County.”

Mr. Pace, who has operated an environmental consulting and project management firm in the Garden State for more than 20 years and has been visiting this area for nearly 30 years, last year married Lowville resident Patricia Hellinger-Pace and decided to close his business so he wouldn’t have to keep splitting time between here and his native state.

However, the new job is bittersweet for him, as the county has been without a planner since Renee J. Beyer, Mr. Pace’s niece through marriage, died of injuries suffered in a two-vehicle crash in April in the town of Harrisburg.

“Renee had a great passion for this community and her work,” he said. “I’m going to do my best to continue along that path.”

Mr. Pace said much of his work as a consultant dealt with redevelopment projects, including environmentally contaminated brownfields.

The largest was the four-year development of the $200 million New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, which opened for racing in 2008 at the site of a former Army airfield that is now a municipal airport and employs about 125 people, he said.

Mr. Pace said his firm did predevelopment and environmental work on the project and helped to secure roughly $7 million in grant funding.

“Everybody got along great,” he said. “That’s what can be done when you have good planning.”

The new planner spent much of his first week on the job meeting people and reviewing ongoing projects, including redevelopment efforts by the Lewis County Development Corp. at the former Lyons Falls Pulp & Paper mill.

“Everyone is very nice,” he said. “It’s a great place to work.”

Before starting his own business, Mr. Pace spent eight years in law enforcement, the last several as a police chief, then switched gears to engineering and was manager of a division of Aamco Oil. He holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering safety.

Mr. Pace is also a professional environmental auditor, has had a couple of professional articles published and holds a patent on a mobile system designed to clean contaminated soil within two to three days.

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