The Kroger Company and its wholly owned company, the Turkey Hill Dairy, are deeply committed to preserving Lancaster County’s farmland and open spaces. As such, rather than constructing a brand new building, the company chose to undertake an adaptive reuse project and rehabilitate a vacated building in Lancaster County’s Borough of Columbia for the new Turkey Hill Experience.
The site is the former Ashley & Bailey Silk Mill, which had been vacant for more than 25 years. With the assistance of Lancaster County’s US EPA Target Assessment Brownfield Grant monies administered by the Lancaster County Planning Commission, the property was methodically moved through the State’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (Act 2).
With Environmental Standards’ help, the property was evaluated and environmental conditions managed to demonstrate attainment of Act 2 remediation standards.
The Site is a former industrial property, which for nearly 100 years operated as a silk mill and a stove manufacturing facility - until 1989. Currently, the property is owned by Museum Partners, a limited partnership that managed the property redevelopment. On April 28, 2010, a Consent Order and Agreement (COA) was executed by and between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania; Department of Environmental Protection; Borough of Columbia; Columbia Economic Development Corporation; and Museum Partners, L.P. for the Site. Congruent to the 2010 COA, as the “Seller,” Columbia Borough was responsible for the demonstration of attainment of an Act 2 cleanup standard based on non-residential use assumptions. The Kroger Company, parent company of Turkey Hill, and the redevelopment group Museum Partners opened an agri-tourism museum, a convenience store, and a retail fuel dispensing station at the Site on June 10, 2011.
The Turkey Hill Experience includes 26,000 square feet of exhibits, dining areas, and retail space. The facility also features nine interactive exhibit areas that allow visitors to learn more about the dairy culture, the story of the Turkey Hill Dairy, and how the company’s top-selling ice cream and iced tea flavors are selected and created.
Exhibits also feature Lancaster County cultural highlights, including some history of the lower Susquehanna River Valley and the rural farming area surrounding Turkey Hill Dairy. Visitors can truly experience what it is like to be a Turkey Hill Dairy ice cream maker for a day, including the opportunity to develop his or her own ice cream flavor. There is an entrance fee to visit the main interactive exhibit area, but a portion of the exhibits are open to the public at no charge. The first floor of the Turkey Hill Experience features a large creamery, which serves the general community.
Turkey Hill Dairy expects 250,000 visitors to Lancaster County’s newest destination each year. The Turkey Hill Experience is designed by Boston Productions, the company that also designed The Hershey Story, Connecticut Science Center, and other top attractions throughout the United States.