Expansion of business park supported

Montgomery County supervisors expressed support Tuesday for a $3.6 million investment to expand the
PHOTOGRAPHER:

Montgomery County supervisors expressed support Tuesday for a $3.6 million investment to expand the Florida Business Park.

County Industrial Development Agency Director Ken Rose presented them with estimates for work required to purchase a 131-acre parcel of land west of the current business park off state Route 5S, which hosts the Target Distribution Center and the planned Beech-Nut Nutrition Corp. baby food manufacturing plant.

The county IDA up to now spent roughly $104,000 for option payments on the proposed parcel, boundary survey work, topographical surveys and a water and sewer analysis, according to an outline of plans presented to the county board.

There is vacant land in the Glen Canal View Business Park, but the bulk of the land in the northern portion, or phase 1, is currently optioned out. About 20 acres remains available in that section.

The southern portion of the Glen business park contains wetlands and would be more expensive to develop than land in the town of Florida, Rose said.

“We don’t think it’s wise to keep investing in phase 2 of the Glen Park at this time,” Rose said.

Mitigating disruption to just over four acres of wetlands in the Glen park could add about $1.5 million to development costs, Rose said.

Rose said a business is already eyeing the Florida park extension but would need to work with an aggressive timetable, Rose said.

The timetable would require engineering to plan for an extension of water and sewer lines by September or August at the latest, Rose said.

Construction, engineering, administrative and legal costs for the water and sewer extension — which would require an agreement with the city of Amsterdam — are estimated at $2,257,200, according to an outline.

Acquiring the land is estimated to cost $980,000 and the next biggest cost in the expansion would be building turning lanes and other roadway work for $150,000.

Other costs associated with the expansion include engineering for the water and sewer expansion, preparation of an environmental impact statement, and archaeological studies. Some of this work, including the boundary survey and topographic work, is already paid for.

Some supervisors on Tuesday said the expansion is a worthwhile investment.

Amsterdam 3rd Ward Supervisor Ronald Barone said he believes the county would recoup much of its investment through an increased tax base and population generated by more jobs.

Florida town Supervisor William Strevy said there’s been discussion in the past about how the county could give taxpayers back some of the money sitting in the fund balance, or surplus, and said investment in the business park could be one way to do it.

“This is, in a sense, a gift that keeps on giving,” Strevy said.

There would be costs associated with extending the water and sewer service to the new site if the expansion proceeds and if the city of Amsterdam agrees with the plans, Amsterdam town Supervisor Thomas DiMezza said.

But if the county is spending money with the goal of improving the economic climate countywide, supervisors should consider spending some money on behalf of the city to upgrade infrastructure, DiMezza said.

The bulk of the county’s economic development work is focusing on the eastern portion of the county, but increased revenues through property and sales taxes would benefit all towns, DiMezza said.

“Everybody wins when both towns develop,” DiMezza said.

Minden Supervisor Thomas Quackenbush said county officials should impress upon municipalities in the western end of the county that the work will benefit them as well, albeit in future years.

Palatine Supervisor Sieds Jonker said the village of Canajoharie, which is facing the departure of more than 350 jobs when Beech-Nut moves to the Florida Business Park, doesn’t have time to wait for future benefits.

Jonker said while the county is considering spending money for expanding the park, officials should consider any “short-term” assistance the village might need.

The county Board of Supervisors’ finance committee is expected to review a draft resolution spelling out how the money will be made available to move the business park expansion ahead.

Categories: Schenectady County

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