The state cleared the way Thursday to transfer the former Tryon Residential Center to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, a requirement for the IDA to begin developing the 512-acre property into a business park.
“This is the step we have been waiting for,” said Jim Mraz, IDA director. “It sets in motion the final step in the process, which is for the IDA to conduct a phase one environment site assessment.”
The assessment would examine the property for hidden environmental hazards, such as buried oil tanks or undisclosed waste dumps. Should any be found, the IDA does not want to be liable for cleaning them up and would want them cleared before taking possession of the property, Mraz said.
“We do not suspect anything, but we are doing our due diligence,” he said.
C.T. Male is conducting the assessment under contract and is expected to complete the process within weeks. The IDA then hopes to take title to the property within 30 to 60 days, Mraz said.
The site contains 40 one-story brick structures ranging in size from 2,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet, including a gym, a swimming pool and an auditorium. The IDA intends to rent out the structures for storage, offices or other applicable purposes, Mraz said.
“If a company comes in and wants 30 acres, then [structures] would be demolished at their cost,” he said.
The property is fenced for security and has one access road. About 300 acres are usable.
Economic development officials in the county want to create another business park because their current parks are at or near capacity. They also need additional shovel-ready sites, which are sites containing all the necessary zoning approvals and infrastructure improvements that allow a business to start operations quickly.
The nature of the businesses at the new park would depend on how the area is zoned. Perth is discussing zoning for the site, most of which lies within the town, as part of efforts to update its comprehensive land-use plan for the first time in more than 10 years, said Ron Cetnar, chairman of the town of Perth Comprehensive Plan Commission and the town’s Planning Board.
The Planning Board will meet Monday night to discuss the park’s zoning needs.
Fulton County last year received a $2 million grant to replace and install water and sewer lines at the Tryon site and to build a new road extension there. The grant came through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. The council recognized the importance of the new industrial park for the area in its strategic plan.
The state closed Tryon last year in a cost-cutting measure. It once housed juvenile delinquents too young to be in state prisons. The transfer of the facility is contingent upon final approval by the state Attorney General’s Office and the Office of the State Comptroller.