Fulton County

Grant boosts Vail Mills development plan

Fulton County envisions mixed-use development, needs sewer service first
Part of the Vail Mills Development Area concept plan.
Part of the Vail Mills Development Area concept plan.

Fulton County is getting a boost in making its Vail Mills Development Area a reality.

State Sen. James Tedisco this week announced a $300,000 state grant to extend a sewer main nearly a mile from Broadalbin to Vail Mills, the town of Mayfield hamlet at the intersection of routes 29 and 30.

Municipal sewage treatment is a crucial part of the vision for a mixed-use community there, said James Mraz, executive director of the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency.

“This has been an impediment to growth out there,” he said, explaining that the soil conditions and high water table can create problems with septic systems at the existing homes and businesses in Vail Mills. More intense development would be impossible without sewer service.

“This is certainly a large hurdle,” Mraz said.

The Vail Mills plan is one of three primary development areas designated in the county as part of a long-term strategy to boost economic activity and tax revenue without sprawl. The others are on Hales Mills Road in the town of Johnstown and the Tryon Technology Park, the old youth detention facility in Perth.

Vail Mills sits at the busiest intersection in the county, Mraz noted, with about 10,600 vehicles passing on Route 30 on an average day and 8,500 on Route 29.

“It’s already a location where we’re seeing development occurring,” he said. “We’re trying to promote more of that development.”

Mraz said Mayfield officials have heard interest from some entrepreneurs who are interested in setting up shop in Vail Mills but can’t because of the amount of wastewater they’d generate.

The grant Tedisco announced Monday will help extend a trunk line about 5,000 linear feet from the Broadalbin sewage treatment plant to the hamlet.

“As they said in ‘Field of Dreams’, ‘If you build it, they will come!’” Tedisco said in a news release. “To move forward on the Vail Mills Development Area and bring more jobs, tourism and economic development to Fulton County, we need to invest in the critical underground infrastructure to build the county’s future success upon.”

“Build-out of the Vail Mills Sewer District is at the center of our economic growth goals and this grant from Senator Tedisco is a big boost to get the project underway,” Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman G. Michael Kinowski said in the news release.

The Vail Mills Development Area envisions 50,000 square feet of retail space; 132,000 square feet of commercial, service and office space; 38 single-family houses, 12 senior patio homes/cottages, 24 family apartments, 36 senior apartments and 40 townhomes; a potential 72-room hotel; and park space.

Fulton County’s 2017 Retail Strategy, prepared by Asterhill Community Planning and Development, found there is $49 million a year in retail leakage — spending by county residents at out-of-county merchants. It calculates this is enough to support 145,000 square feet of additional retail space countywide and  estimates that the Vail Mills Development Area could support 44,500 square feet.

The 2017 Fulton County Housing Strategy, also prepared by Asterhill, found 570 Fulton County households totaling nearly 1,400 people currently provide demand for up to 345 new owner-occupied housing units and 220 new rental units. By 2025, potential population increase could support 535 and 400 such units, respectively.

Currently there are none of the mixed-use developments popular with both millennials and empty-nesters, the study noted.

The study also estimates that by 2025, about 35 percent of the Fulton County population will be 55 or older, and notes there is a very modest supply of market-rate housing.

The county’s pitch for the Vail Mills Development Area offers several selling points:

  • It’s a key gateway to Sacandaga and Adirondacks.
  • There are several successful businesses there already.
  • It has close proximity to year-round recreation and adjoins a rail trail.
  • The site has a low cost of living, a strong school district, a low crime rate and a good quality of life.
  • The crossroads is within an hour’s drive of technology centers in Albany, Malta and Utica.

Categories: Business, News, Schenectady County

Leave a Reply