FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 28, 2020
Contact: Mark Geise
JAMESTOWN, N.Y.: — County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA) Chief Executive Officer and Deputy County Executive for Economic Development, Mark Geise, provided a detailed overview of transactions, projects, and initiatives undertaken by the CCIDA in 2019 at its January 28th Board Meeting.
In summary, the CCIDA Board approved 16 transactions, resulting in a total private sector investment of $155,693,478, the creation of 190.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs (over three years), and the retention of 653 FTE jobs. Many other projects and initiatives, not involving Board approval or the immediate creation of jobs, were also discussed. The following key projects, listed in chronological order, are among the transactions approved by the CCIDA Board in 2019:
- DFT Rural Broadband ($5,343,170) – Extend broadband internet within theCity of Dunkirk; the Towns of Arkwright, Charlotte, Chautauqua, Pomfret, Sheridan, and Stockton; and the Village of Cassadaga.
- Silver Creek Solar ($6,950,000) – Installation of 5 megawatt solar array electric generation facility in the Town of Sheridan on a 40 acre parcel.
- Lawson Boat & Motor, LLC ($1,667,990) – Renovation/reconstruction of full service marina in the City of Jamestown and Town of Ellicott on the Chadakoin River.
- Growers Co-Operative Grape Juice Company, Inc. ($3,470,000) – Installation of bulk storage tanks and ancillary equipment.
- The Stannard Group, Inc. ($2,698,518) – Construction of new building to serve as logistics operation on approximately 5.5 acres located in the Mason Industrial Park in the Town of Ellicott.
- Wells Enterprise, Inc. ($89,000,000) – Major improvements and upgrades to the former Fieldbrook Foods ice cream manufacturing facility in Dunkirk, including renovations, the acquisition of land, the purchase of new equipment, and major electrical upgrades.
- S. St. George Enterprise, Inc. ($765,000) – Construction of a new heavy equipment storage facility at its existing site in the Town of Pomfret.
- Graham’s Market ($268,600) – Working Capital for a new grocery store in the Village of Sherman, which is considered a food desert.
- Inscape Consent Resolution ($2,650,000) – Acquisition and upgrades to an existing metal fabrication business in the Town of Ellicott.
The following are some of the key projects, not involving board action, also undertaken at the direction of the CCIDA/County Economic Development Team:
Empire State Brands Integrated Feasibility Study
The CCIDA played a lead role with Empire State Brands, a startup company, in its efforts to establish a fully-integrated hops and barley growing and processing operation being contemplated in Chautauqua County. This included initial and ongoing conversations regarding its project scope and strategy, securing local funding for a feasibility study, setting up meetings, assisting with an Empire State Development consolidated funding application (which was approved for $2.9 Million), and continued efforts to secure funding and become operational. This enterprise is anticipated to have significant potential as an agricultural-focused business to support Chautauqua County’s strong farming community, while contributing to the growth of jobs. It would also provide a platform for the county to compete statewide, nationally, and in targeted global markets in this sector.
Ripley Gateway Study
The County and CCIDA, in collaboration with the Town of Ripley and other stakeholders, contracted with Clark Patterson Lee and its sub-consultant, RKG, to undertake a feasibility study/concept plan for the primary purpose of developing a Gateway Center near the Shortman Road Exit off of Interstate Route 90 in the Town of Ripley. The feasibility study results, which were very positive, are currently being leveraged to secure support and funding for the project. If built, the facility is anticipated to lead to significantly more tourists spending money in the County, visitors being educated about what we have to offer, and more travelers visiting our County.
Brownfield/Greenfield Development Strategy
Chautauqua County abounds in legacy industrial sites (brownfields), which are poised for redevelopment considering their location, infrastructure, zoning, alignment to State economic development priorities, as well as the generous incentives available to developers for their cleanup and redevelopment. The County and CCIDA contracted with consulting firm, Prospect Hill, to work with the municipalities throughout the County to inventory Brownfield and Greenfield (uncontaminated) sites, assist with developing a tool to manage these assets, and make recommendations regarding how best to market their availability for redevelopment. The County, CCIDA, and participating municipalities have applied for funding, and are seeking to apply for more financial assistance available through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other sources to assist with these efforts. At the same time, the County and CCIDA are seeking to expand their existing business parks through additional property acquisitions, all in an effort to create more shovel-ready sites.
NRG Power Plant Redevelopment Alternatives and Feasibility Study
The County and CCIDA are working collaboratively with the City of Dunkirk and other stakeholders to develop a feasibility study for the repurposing/re-use of the NRG Power Plant located on Dunkirk’s waterfront. After securing a generous grant through the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC), and matching this funding with local capital and in-kind resources, the working group interviewed a number of firms in late July of 2019 and selected Bergmann Associates to undertake this important project. The detailed analysis resulting from this effort will assess the facility’s attributes, identify the challenges for redevelopment, and propose a number of potential reuse alternatives for the facility and its associated parcels. The project is expected to be completed in mid-to-late 2020, at which point the County and City will take the next step of considering how to move the top recommendation(s) forward.
Economic Development Strategy – Partnership for Economic Growth
The County, the CCIDA, local foundations, and service providers, along with the private sector, have been working toward a consolidated approach to county-wide economic development. These efforts resulted in the creation of the Chautauqua County Economic Development Organizational Plan by consulting firm Camoin. This firm also made recommendations regarding the refinement of a more inclusive public/private partnership and organizational structure that will ultimately lead to an alignment of resources and a more collaborative economic development environment throughout the County. The economic development alliance, to be known as the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth (CCPEG), was formally launched in the fall of 2019. The County and CCIDA have allocated the startup resources necessary to form this organization through an existing not-for-profit, the Chautauqua Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC). The intent is to create a sustainable funding model with public and private support for operations, and identify projects and initiatives to be undertaken. CREDC has assembled the stakeholders into five working groups: Business Development, Community Development, Workforce Development, Housing, and Quality of Life/Tourism, along with an Advisory Group consisting of local private sector and opinion leaders. Additionally, a “One-Stop” resources website has been developed, which can be accessed at CHQpartnership.org.
The Chautauqua County Division of Economic Development and the CCIDA jointly financed the development and production of a new marketing tool, a published recruitment/visitors brochure. The brochure includes information about Chautauqua County’s year-round destinations and world-class attractions, naturally diverse assets, and its historically significant attributes. It also includes information about the dominate business sectors and premier examples of key companies, including tourism, manufacturing, and the agribusiness sectors; its low-cost housing; the educational opportunities that abound throughout the County; and its strategic locational advantages. At the same time, it was deemed important to broaden the brochure’s content to also serve as a tool for existing and potential visitors by telling the story of Chautauqua County’s natural and man-made assets, historical resources, educational and tourism opportunities, and other amenities that are key attributes for increasing tourism. The brochures are currently being distributed to businesses, organizations, not-for-profits, and service providers throughout the community. At this point, approximately 10,000 copies have been distributed throughout the County. The brochure can be viewed at CHQpartnership.org.
“The County and CCIDA team have been working persistently for almost two years to move these and many other projects forward, and we will continue to advance them until they are completed,” said Geise. “I am excited and proud of the work the CCIDA and County Economic Development team are doing, which goes well beyond a transactional approach to economic development – it involves planning and strategizing five to ten years in the future. We are looking at our assets and opportunities, evaluating trends and challenges, and pursuing those initiatives that we believe will have the greatest impact and the greatest chance of success.”
“The proactive economic development initiatives being undertaken by the County and CCIDA are important projects for the future of our County,” said County Executive PJ Wendel. “It demonstrates the proactive, collaborative and comprehensive approach we are taking as it pertains to the needs of our businesses and the public in general, including the tourism and agricultural sectors. I vow to continue to support these and other innovative projects to keep the County moving forward.”
Wendel and Geise are grateful to the many partners throughout the County who are contributing to these and other projects, and are excited about the future of the County.
Any comments or questions regarding this announcement should be addressed to Mark Geise, Deputy County Executive for Economic Development/CCIDA Chief Executive Officer, at email@example.com.
About the County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency (CCIDA)
The CCIDA is an economic development organization authorized and empowered by the State of New York to make Chautauqua County a better place to work, live, visit, and conduct business. The organization facilitates development by attracting new businesses, while promoting the retention and expansion of existing businesses. Assistance in the form of incentives – tax abatements, low interest loans, and bond financing – enhances the opportunities for job creation and retention for our businesses. For more information visit www.ccida.com.