By Andy Sheehan

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After more than 70 years — Kennametal is leaving Westmoreland County and KDKA can confirm advanced discussions with state, city and county officials about building a new world headquarters at the Almono — the razed LTV site in Hazelwood.

But not everyone is pleased.

“If they needed help to stay in Westmoreland County why wouldn’t they talk to us in Westmoreland County instead of going behind our backs and moving to Pittsburgh?” asked State Sen. Kim Ward.

Pittsburgh’s gain will be Westmoreland County’s loss, and Sen. Ward strongly objects to the use of public money and incentives to help the company move from one location in southwestern Pennsylvania to another.

A letter to Kennametal from state Economic Development Director Dennis Davin promises the company $1 million in grants and incentive to stay in the state. And the city and county are offering other incentives to bring Kennametal here. Mayor Bill Peduto says Pittsburgh is not in competition with Westmoreland County, but with other major cities.

“They’re looking to be in a dense urban environment and whether that’s Cleveland, Pittsburgh or Charlotte, one of them is going to be able to deliver,” he said.

And Kennametal Chairman Bill Newlin says the company is looking for cultural amenities, quick access to a major airport and a pool of ready university graduates that Pittsburgh can provide and that Westmoreland County cannot.

“My preference is to get this done and get it done in Pittsburgh,” he said. “We are looking at least one site, and we have on-going discussions about securing a site and establishing the conditions to make this possible.”

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