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Massena to seek Regional Economic Development Council Funding for industrial park

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MASSENA - Now that the acquisition of a large plot of land on the Horton Road is nearing its completion, town officials spoke with the St. Lawrence County IDA on Monday to discuss ways they could receive funding needed to open an industrial or commerce park there.

Attending the meeting Monday afternoon were members of the town board, as well as St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Executive Director Patrick Kelly, IDA Chief Financial Officer Thomas A. Plastino and Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena Executive Director Thomas Sullivan.

The trio of business development leaders spoke to the board about how they could receive funding from both the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and Empire State Development Agency.

“We have been talking with the town and watching the progress on the Horton Road property in regards to creating an industrial park,” Mr. Kelly said. “We want to do whatever we can to turn that into jobs and property taxes.”

Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray said he is expecting the property to come into the town’s possession this week, following the completion of a land exchange in which the town is giving Alcoa a much smaller parcel on Route 131, which is located adjacent to land already owned by the company.

Mr. Gray said that exchange could be completed by the end of the week.

“I think we’ve toyed with the idea of that for a location for a new town barn, but we would need infrastructure for that too,” he said.

Councilman John F. Macaulay asked whether or not the Horton Road site would be big enough for both a town barn and an industrial park.

Both Mr. Kelly and Mr. Sullivan agreed it was.

“You’re looking at five acres and you have 70 acres on either side of the Horton Road, so you have more than enough room for both,” Mr. Sullivan said.

In the past, Mr. Kelly said the IDA has received inquiries from companies who were looking for parcels of land larger than what the county could accommodates.

“We have had inquiries from companies seeking larger parcels,” he said. “We are the largest county in the state, but we have very few large parcels with infrastructure ready to go.”

Mr. Kelly said the parcel is currently serviced by village water, but would need roadways and sewer service, as well as natural gas and electricity service.

“Ideally we’ll get the infrastructure in there and turn this site into something that could accommodate multiple users,” he said. “To have sites in the 25 to 30 acre range, and maybe even more, would be beneficial.”

The board voted unanimously to allow the IDA to begin working on a proposal to present to the Regional Economic Development Council.

Councilman Albert N. Nicola asked whether Mr. Kelly thought the project stood a good chance of receiving funding.

“This fits in exactly with what they’re looking for. Right?” he asked, to which Mr. Kelly replied, “I hope so.”

Mr. Kelly continued, “The site doesn’t have a lot to do to be shovel ready,” he said, adding the town can expect to find out if they will receive funding this fall.

Mr. Plastino said should the Regional Economic Development Council fund the project, they would likely fund 20 percent of it. He said, the town could also seek funding from Empire State Development. They may fund up to 50 percent of the project, he said.

“There is still going to be a good sized hole and that’s where the gaming compact money comes in,” Mr. Plastino said, adding the town’s highway department could provide in-kind services.

“You’re going to need roads,” he said.

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