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Work on Canton Industrial Park will start soon

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CANTON — Construction expected to start this month on a building in the Canton Industrial Park marks a step in a historical venture among the town, village, St. Lawrence County, Industrial Development Agency and St. Lawrence NYSARC that started when the county needed to build a jail.

“It is part of a long-term partnership. The notion of developing an industrial park in the county seat has been talked about for years,” said IDA Executive Director Patrick J. Kelly. “Undertaking this project, we’re fulfilling that objective.”

The 15,000-square-foot $1.9 million building, the first in the light industrial park, will be constructed near the county jail on Commerce Lane.

“It’s been one of my priorities since I’ve been on the board,” said IDA Chairman Brian W. Staples. “This building will be a lean structure, a green structure and one that purposefully meets the needs for development in a college community. There will be light industrial subsections, pods so to speak, available for economic development.”

The building’s design will include such features as high insulation values, creative use of natural lighting and a high-efficiency heating system. Wall and roof panels and trusses will be manufactured locally and installed by contractor Danko, Massena. The building will be wired for high-level computer applications.

The IDA expects to be one of the building’s first tenants, becoming an on-site manager.

“Being the owner/occupant for this kind of facility makes sense,” Mr. Kelly said.

The IDA expects to take about 3,500 square feet of the building for its offices. A microbrewery operated by the owners of the Blackbird Cafe in Canton is in the works to occupy 3,000 square feet.

“We plan to work with local colleges in Canton and Potsdam to develop this facility,” Mr. Kelly said. “We think having the ability to offer a variety of spatial layouts will make it more appealing.”

The industrial park’s startup is also expected to draw attention to six commercial lots NYSARC owns that were developed as part of the package deal that made the jail possible.

“We haven’t actively marketed them yet, but we will,” said NYSARC Executive Director Daphne A. Pickert. “That was quite a thing when you think about the history.”

In 2005, the town, village, county, IDA and NYSARC signed a memorandum of understanding that led to the jail’s construction and development of the commercial and light industrial lots.

The municipalities agreed to annex property for the jail and industrial park lots into the village to connect to water and sewer lines. NYSARC gave the county land across its property to connect the site with a road to West Main Street. The IDA was to develop the park and provide utility access along the road to NYSARC lots.

“We co-designed a road that met the needs of the commercial lots, jail and park without making it a pass-through,” Mr. Staples said.

The park represents the IDA’s goals of creating assets that support the county’s work force, its colleges and diversity of its communities, Mr. Kelly said. “This building is a step in that direction,” he said.

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