What the site selectors said about Fulton County

During the first week of September 2017, Fulton County officials hosted three of only 43 certified site selectors in the nation, picking their brains for how best to market the county’s assets.

Fulton County Planning Director Jim Mraz is preparing an indepth report of the suggestions and observations of the members of the Site Selectors Guild – such as the pre-development of large industrial buildings and increasing marketing efforts.

“We brought these guys here because they’re the best of the best,” said Fulton County Planning Director Jim Mraz. “They have national and international status and experience in economic development and the corporate site-selection business. They were brought here to give us guidance and help us with perfecting our strategy moving forward.”site selectors on Twitter

Over a three day visit, the site selectors toured Tryon Technology Park, PTECH (Pathways in Technology Early College High School) in Johnstown, Pioneer Windows in the Johnstown Industrial Park and a workforce training program at Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

Here’s what they had to say:

Jay garnerJay A. Garner, president of Garner Economics, LLC of Fayetteville, Ga.

“A lot of people that we talk to in other areas tend to glisten over the challenges, but these were noted and there was a plan to mitigate many of those challenges,” Garner said. “That shows true leadership, and I commend you all for that.”  — as quoted by The Recorder of Amsterdam, September 11, 2017

 


 

JJim Renzasim Renzas, principal at the RSH Group, Inc. of Mission Viejo, Calif.

“Our visit here opened my eyes quite a bit. I go to a lot of much bigger areas where you couldn’t get a group this size together. People just don’t care about their community. Here, you actually have a community.”  – as quoted by The Recorder of Amsterdam, September 11, 2017

“It’s a big site and it’s a beautiful site. So there’s a lot you can do with it.” – On Tryon Technology Parkas quoted by The Recorder of Amsterdam, September 11, 2017

 


 

Dennis DonovanDennis Donovan, of New Jersey-based Wadley, Donovan, Gutshaw Consulting of Bridgewater, N.J.

“The most impressive thing I’ve seen is leadership — the leadership here is really stunningly good. People are not afraid to take chances and they’re brutally honest. You’ve got what a lot of areas don’t have so that’s really important. Your infrastructure capacity is amazing and you’ve got some nice shovel-ready sites. Fulton County might be small but you’ve got good physical product here. You will succeed. There’s no doubt about it.” as quoted by The Recorder of Amsterdam, September 11, 2017

“The training resources with BOCES PTECH and [Fulton-Montgomery Community College], they are first class — among the best I’ve seen, and I’ve seen a lot of them. It helps for companies to expand their workforce and upgrade their skills because the training institutions are already in place.” – as quoted by The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, September 17, 2017

“I think your training resources here are second to noneThe range of incentives you can bring to the table are good to bring in deals.” – as quoted by The Leader-Herald, September 11, 2017

“The cost of doing business in Fulton County is competitive with any location, even in the Southeast. And this is not in any way exploitative; the cost of living in the area is low.” – as quoted by The Daily Gazette of Schenectady, September 17, 2017

Site Selection experts to visit Fulton County Sept. 8

You’re Invited

Logo for a guild of site selection experts visiting Fulton County on Sept. 8
in Fulton County, NY

Friday, September 8
7:30 A.M.—10:00 A.M. Holiday Inn
308 N. Comrie Ave., Johnstown, NY 12095

Three nationally recognized corporate site selection experts from the prestigious Site Selectors Guild will be in Fulton County to discuss important economic development topics.

The Site Selectors Guild is the only association of the world’s foremost professional site selection consultants. Guild members provide location strategy to corporations across the globe. There are only 47 members of this exclusive Guild.

Topics to Include:
+ Best Practices in Economic Development & Marketing

Best Practices in Workforce Training and Development

+ Site Selectors’ Assessment of Fulton County

+ Question & Answer Session

If you would like to attend this important event, please RSVP by 5:00 P.M. Tuesday September 5, 2017 to:
Beth Lathers, Legislative Aide, Fulton County Board of Supervisors at elathers@fultoncountyny.gov or (518) 736-5545

Tryon Technology Park is one of the Fulton County assets drawing site selection experts to Fulton County NY on Sept. 8fc-positive

fultonmontgomeryconnectedforbusinesslogoThis event is supported by a National Grid Economic Development Grant

County seeks state funding to encourage private investment

County eyes several big projects

Sewer systems and baseball fields are among big projects seeking state money in Fulton County for 2017. Recently filed was $1.6 million worth of state funding applications for five main economic development projects within the county.

The conduit for annual Empire State Development Corp. funding is the Consolidated Funding Application, or CFA.

A $500,000 state Consolidated Funding Application was submitted to improve Parkhurst Field off Harrison Street in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

A $500,000 state Consolidated Funding Application was submitted to improve Parkhurst Field off Harrison Street in Gloversville. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

Since 2011, New York state’s counties have been part of a process started by Gov. Andrew Cuomo involving CFAs filed from 10 regional economic development councils. Fulton and Montgomery counties are part of the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. Awards will be announced for each region by the state in December.

“We filed two [CFAs] for the Hales Mills Road Extension sewer [project] and the Vail Mills sewer [project],” Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz said last week.

For the Hales Mills development area wastewater project, crews will install a wastewater pump station/wastewater lines along the east side of Hales Mills Road Extension. The total estimated project cost will be $600,000.

For the Vail Mills development area, installation of wastewater trunk lines and a pump station are on tap. The estimated project cost is $1.3 million.

Mraz said the county filed a $120,000 CFA for the Hales Mills Road sewer project and a $260,000 CFA for the Vail Mills sewer project.

Also serving as executive director of the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency, Mraz noted the Board of Supervisors’ Capital Projects Committee decided recently not to seek state funding for a water and sewer project at the Tryon Technology Park in Perth. Fulton County was originally considering submitting a CFA for that project. Mraz said supervisors decided to postpone that project until 2019.

Fulton County is trying to improve infrastructure in the Hales Mills development area. A waterline for that area is virtually complete, and now officials have set their sights on the sewer component to bring businesses to the area.

Eventually, county officials hope to bring much commercial development to some of the 490 acres off Hales Mills Road Extension. Also proposed is 120 residential lots, mixed-use developments, townhouses and a two-mile walking trail.

Environmental Design Partnership of Clifton Park determined a sewer system and pump station on Route 29 have excess capacity. If Fulton County can gain access to existing sewer lines, officials will create a county sewer district for the Hales Mills Road development area.

The Vail Mills development area proposal shows 455 acres, with 60 residential lots. The area is also expected to attract adult senior housing, commercial/retail development, and a possible hotel.

The state prefers projects already “ready to go” by the time the CFA is pursued for them, Mraz said. For entities pursuing CFA funding, he said they don’t want to incur costs until after the grant is awarded.

“Often, timing is an issue,” Mraz said.

In the private sector, some companies may file for a CFA for a project for which they they “want to get going” now, but realistically can’t until after December or January.

Ronald Peters, president and CEO of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, said a $500,000 CFA was filed for continued development of Parkhurst Field off Harrison Street in Gloversville.

“That was the one we worked on with them,” Peters said.

Parkhurst Field, where the Gloversville Little League plays, in 2016 also received a $500,000 CFA award from the state.

The Parkhurst Field Foundation in February begin a capital campaign. The foundation has created a $2.3 million development plan for the 110-year-old field, which saw baseball greats from the early 20th century such as Cy Young and Honus Wagner take the field.

The plan has three phases

Phase one includes the installation of three baseball diamonds instead of the single “senior” field currently in place. Phase two includes installation of replica grandstands on the site similar to what would have been there during the turn of the century. Phase three includes landscaping, parking lot changes and other improvements.

Parkhurst Field was the site on Sunday for the fifth annual Vintage Baseball Game & Fundraiser for the Field of Dreams Capital Campaign. Festivities included a 12-year-old All-Star vintage game between the Johnstown Buckskins and the Gloversville Glovers, two teams that originally faced off locally in the late 1800s. The fundraiser also included a Vintage Baseball Game with a local A., J. & G team of former Gloversville Little League players versus the Whately Pioneers of Massachusetts.

The Fulton County Baseball & Sports Hall of Fame on Sunday also inducted 1951 Gloversville Glover Ralph Vitti, who had a successful film career, appearing in more than 30 movies and 150 television shows.

Other CFAs recently filed that involved the CRG was one for $200,000 to renew for two years the county’s successful Microenterprise Grant Program. The current grant program ends this year. The program is administered by the CRG. It is funded through Community Development Block Grant applications to the state Office of Community Renewal. It is intended to provide grants from $25,000 to $35,000 to small businesses with a maximum of five full-time employees.

The CRG has also been involved with the village of Northville on what Peters said is a Main Street “anchor” project. Applied for was a $500,000 CFA for that.

Earlier this year, Peters told his board he has spent considerable time on the downtown Northville project. He said a developer has shown interest. At one point, Peters said he was working on four potential “deals” for Northville. He said Mayor John Spaeth has been very supportive, but more details will be released later.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

TU: Fulton County shows off business park, medical marijuana tenant

If your business is anything like a medical marijuana facility, economic developers in Fulton County want you to know they have a perfect location for it.

You don’t have to be making medicines from plants that were until recently illegal to grow. Fulton County officials are looking for businesses that need lots of affordable space in a secure, remote location with access to a workforce that has a wide range of education and skills. That’s what Vireo Health of New York, one of five medical marijuana companies operating in the state, got when it moved into the 213-acre Tryon Technology Park two years ago.

“Fulton County has been a terrific partner for us,” Vireo Chief Executive Ari Hoffnung said Wednesday at a county event pitching the site of a former state juvenile detention center to a couple dozen real estate brokers.

“It’s a perfect fit,” Fulton County Planning Director James Mraz said of Vireo’s location.

As the unique business park’s only tenant, Vireo was a natural selling point. Real estate brokers got a rare tour of the strictly regulated facility.

They got to see an outdoor greenhouse and indoor grow rooms where horticulturists carefully control the light and temperature of plants whose oils are extracted for medicines to treat 11 debilitating conditions approved by the state.  They got to peek into the laboratory where the medicines are made, in different formulations of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a mind-altering ingredient, and cannabidiol (CBD), which has no psychoactive properties.

 Yet as an example of a thriving business, Vireo isn’t there yet. Hoffnung told county officials and real estate brokers that the firm has invested about $10 million in the operation, including 20 acres of land. But like the other four medical marijuana companies in New York, it has yet to break even.

That’s despite a huge boost — an increase in volume of more than 50 percent, according to Vireo Operations Director Nick Goran — since the state added chronic pain to its list of qualifying conditions less than three months ago. One impediment to growth, company officials said, is that too few doctors are registering to certify patients for medical marijuana. According to the state Health Department, 1,058 medical providers were registered as of last week.

The business park landed Vireo as a client without much work, Mraz said. The company found the park as the county was engaged in getting the facility ready to market, Mraz said.

Mraz raised an eyebrow when he told about first hearing of interest from a potential tenant that wanted to grow marijuana. But then he learned more about Vireo’s plans. “Ah, you’re a pharmaceutical company,” he said.

WRGB sees growth potential for Fulton County

They’re both headquartered in our area.

The center of Fulton County is about 45 miles from Albany, and with two successful businesses operating there, right now county leaders are hoping to attract even more companies.

Vireo Health CEO Ari Hoffnung was born and raised in New York City, but he decided to manufacture medical marijuana in the quiet countryside of Johnstown.

“Got a great deal on 20 acres and now we have enough space our business can grow into,” Hoffnung said.

Security is extremely important for a medical marijuana operation, which is why Hoffnung says this was a prime location, an old youth corrections facility.

The old inmate living quarters now house the plants used to make kosher forms of the state-regulated drug.

Hoffnung says he saw an opportunity to bring the old Tryon Juvenile Prison buildings back to life, and put Fulton County residents back to work.

“Hundreds of jobs were lost and being able to bring jobs back was extraordinarily important,” Hoffnung said.

But now Hoffnung is looking for neighbors on the prison property, which has been transformed into the Tryon Technology Park, several hundred acres of shovel-ready space.

“We would welcome biotech companies we would welcome medical device companies it’s a great place to do business,” Hoffnung said.

County Planning Director Jim Mraz says the county’s been working to prepare the land in two nearby areas, Hales Mills and Vail Mills, for anticipated residential growth.

“We’re looking at upwards of 900 housing units county-wide in demand,” Mraz said.

They’re hoping the success of Fage yogurt, headquartered just eight miles from the medical marijuana site, will also help businesses look their way.

“We’re so proud they’re here, and we’d like to see more companies like that,” Mraz said.

County leaders say one of their biggest challenges is changing perception. Because the county is mostly rural, leaders say folks tend to think it’s hours away from the Capital Region, but the drive to Johnstown about 40 minutes from Schenectady.

by Anne McCloy, WRGB 6News Albany

Wednesday, June 21st 2017

WNYT finds Fulton County Posi+tive

Presentations highlight business opportunities in Fulton County

June 21, 2017 05:56 PM

PERTH – Fulton County wants companies to know it is open for business. County officials highlighted shovel-ready areas around the county for businesses to move in at a presentation Wednesday. The county highlighted those opportunities at Tryon Technology Park, and branded their new slogan – Fulton County: Posi+ive.

It may seem like an unusual place for a rebirth, an old juvenile detention facility. But at the Tryon Technology Park, Fulton County sees a bright business future for the county. “It was really a day to talk about investment opportunities, real estate development opportunities that we have here in Fulton County, readily available,” said James Mraz, Fulton County’s Planning Director.

The county brought in members of the Commercial and Industrial Real Estate Brokers to talk about opportunities for businesses and families in Fulton County. “We know what we’re doing, we know the opportunities that are here, but it doesn’t do us any good to know them and not for everybody else to,” said Mraz.

The county is focusing on three main sites. A planned residential and retail development in Johnstown and other in Mayfield. But the main area they focused on Wednesday was the Tryon Technology Park in the Town of Perth. The county got the property after the detention facility shut down in 2011. They’ve spent the last two years, and more than five million dollars, getting it ready for business.

“It’s one thing to have the land available, but if that land isn’t supported by the infrastructure it’s really not shovel-ready,” said Mraz. One tenant is already at the Technology Park: Vireo Health. A medical marijuana grower licensed by the state, the company credits the county for their growth.

“Fulton County and its IDA have been true partners to us,” said Ari Hoffnung, CEO of Vireo Health of NY, LLC. “We couldn’t do what we’re doing without their support.”

Vireo praised the county’s investments at Tryon, and say they’re ready for new tenants to come in. “Infrastructure here is top notch when it comes to power, when it comes to water, when it comes to high speed internet access,” said Hoffnung. “And it’s getting a little lonely so we would love a few more neighbors.”

Credits

Ben Amey

Copyright 2017 – WNYT-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

Gloversville Public Library celebrations planned

Two events to celebrate renovations

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Public Library will be hosting two events to celebrate the upcoming renovation of the more than 100-year-old building.

Lisa Buggeln, the library board of trustees’ vice president of finance, said the open house will start with a ribbon cutting ceremony likely at the West Fulton Street entrance.

KERRY MINOR
Reporter
kminor@leaderherald.com
DSC00546bOriginally published in The Leader-Herald, MAY 6, 2017

Buggeln said there will be a number of children’s activities throughout the event including face painting and make-your-own bookmark craft.

A scavenger hunt will take place to get people acclimated to the layout of the space. Every visitor will get a floor map of the library and the location of the various events going on. Scavenger hunts can be done by kids, teenagers and adults.

“When [children] come back with [the hunt] completed they will get a little goody bag,” she said.

Those who participate in the scavenger hunt will get a coupon for the raffle of one of three prize baskets that will be offered: one for adults, one for teenagers and one for children.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 13.

“It’s introducing everyone to where we are now,” Buggeln said. “We really want people to know where the temporary space is and the layout.”

Library staff will also be on hand to answer questions.

The library opened in its temporary location at the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth at 34 W. Fulton St. on April 24. The move was precipitated by the a total overhaul of the more than 110-year-old Andrew Carnegie-funded library over the next 14 to 24 months.

At 6 p.m. on May 18, the library will hold a kickoff event at the library’s permanent home at 58 E. Fulton St. The kickoff will celebrate the start of the construction.

“It says we’re starting, we are actually doing this,” Buggeln said.

The event will see the public be able to come and see the emptied out space before the construction starts.

Participants will be able to better envision what the space will look like after the construction is complete with the help of a little tape. gloversville-library-NYBuggeln said tape will be used on the floor to show where items and spaces will be after the building undergoes a total renovation.

Buggeln said two donors are paying for Union Hall Inn to cater the event.

Changes at the property will include new meeting rooms, additional niches for reading, installation of air conditioning and new handicapped accessibility, including an elevator.

The basement will be transformed into a center for children with a dedicated space for teens, something the library staff and board all agree is something that is needed for the area.

Even with all of the changes, the historic aspects — with the exception of the boiler and radiators — will be staying. This includes the distinctive grand staircases.

The library will also be installing an elevator. This installation will be accomplished by putting on an addition to the side of the building. An identical addition will be put on the opposite side of the building for symmetry per the state Historic Preservation Board.

Buggeln said invitations have gone out to everyone who donated to the library’s capital campaign. The capital campaign raised over $8 million for the renovation.

The library board will be voting to approve contracts for the project sometime this month, after which the work can get started.

Buggeln said the library staff and board are hopeful contracts will begin a week after the kickoff party.

Gloversville storefronts to be restored

DeSantis’ downtown project approved
Plans to turn 2 buildings into retail, living space

GLOVERSVILLE –Vincent DeSantis’ plan for renovating a downtown building has been approved by the city’s planning board, with hopes to have retail businesses in place by the end of the summer.

On Tuesday, DeSantis was given the green light for a plan to overhaul the exterior of 31 N. Main St. and convert the first floor from an office into a retail establishment.

DeSantis, the Third Ward Councilman and a former city court judge, purchased 31 and 33 N. Main St. in October and plans to renovate both buildings.

The property at 31 N. Main St. will undergo the greatest change.

The building, which currently features a white marble front with three small windows near the top of the first floor, will be overhauled with a goal of bringing back its Victorian-era storefront.

DeSantis is hoping to apply for state and federal Historic Preservation tax credits for 31 N. Main St.

“It is building that has been modernized on the front to the point that it does not [conform] with the historic character of downtown. Changing that back to a Victorian front may qualify for tax breaks,” DeSantis said.

Inside the building, the first floor will be transformed to potentially house two businesses. The second floor will be turned into two loft-style apartments.

There will possibly be another apartment on the third floor, but that will take more time to complete, since it has gone untouched for several decades.

“That’s a really big project. At this point, there is only a ladder and hatchway up to the third floor, and it’s really closed off,” he said. “When you go up the ladder, it’s like a time capsule. It’s stepping back in time to 1910. Everything is deteriorated, the plaster is coming off the walls, you can see the lath in places.”

DeSantis said he is hopeful that within five years the space can be developed into a full apartment.

DeSantis said he has two prospective tenants that are interested in opening up in the space: a bakery/cafe and a juice bar. There will be limited seating available in the space, including some on a planned deck.

He said he hopes to have the businesses and second floor apartments occupied by the end of the summer. He said he has spoken with a couple contractors already about the project.

“Once it gets going, I think it will be very quickly,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the tenant at 33 N. Main St. left at the end of April, and someone is interested in taking the space. The one-story building is already zoned for retail. No planning board approval was needed for that property at this point, since there will be no exterior changes to the building.

The building will need minimal work to get it ready for a new tenant. DeSantis does plan to put in some new flooring and work to expose a tin ceiling that is currently covered by a drop ceiling.

“As opposed to [31 N. Main], 33 was very well maintained,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said he thought that with the eastern side of North Main Street seeing development in the form of the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, Schine Memorial Hall and City National Commons, that it was time for the western side of the street to see some new renovations.

“I just think that right now there is a lot of energy going into downtown. A lot of psychological energy and there is a lot of investment downtown,” he said. “Somehow, that had to jump across the street. It had to synergize with something on the other side of the street.”

DeSantis said that the two buildings had been for sale for a long period of time, and he thought they were small enough that he could financially handle the renovations.

DeSantis said the renovations and new businesses could help with the application for the state’s second round of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.

The state will again be awarding 10 communities across New York $10 million for downtown improvement plans.

DeSantis said that it could be helpful for the application to show improvements are already being made.

“Whenever you apply for something like that, they give you points if they feel something is already happening in the downtown,” he said. “So it does help the application.”

DeSantis said elected officials are disqualified from receiving money from the state for this program.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

Business to expand into Diana Knit site

The former Diana Knitting Mill off North Perry and Grove streets in Johnstown is being groomed for Townsend Leather's expansion. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

The former Diana Knitting Mill off North Perry and Grove streets in Johnstown is being groomed for Townsend Leather’s expansion. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich

MIKE ANICH
Reporter
manich@leaderherald.com
Originally published in The Leader-Herald, May 3, 2017

JOHNSTOWN — Townsend Leather plans to expand into the former, vacant Diana Knitting Mill complex at North Perry and Grove streets, eventually creating more than 50 new jobs to start.

The renewal and manufacturing project was unveiled by Townsend representative Stitchery Realty LLC to the city Planning Board Tuesday at City Hall.

“We’ve been looking at floor space throughout the city,” Tim Beckett of Stitchery told the board.

He said Townsend could have looked elsewhere, but decided to stay in the city of Johnstown.

Townsend Leather on Townsend Avenue, which dyes and produces leather goods for vendors throughout the world, has been in business since 1969.

The former Diana Knitting Mill at 229 N. Perry St. is a three-parcel, multi-building connected complex that has been empty for more than 15 years.

The complex includes a 66,000-square-foot building, of which 47,000 square feet is a three-story, former knitting mill; and a 19,000-square-foot, two-story addition built in 1988 with conveyer system.

Beckett said Townsend is seeking a new business operating permit for the mill area. Zoning in that part of Johnstown is currently classified as commercial. There are no zoning issues. He said the eventual Townsend operation would include manufacturing equipment, dry drums and a leather buffing machine. He said one side of the complex would hire up to 12 people to start and the brick side of the plant facing Grove Street would involve about 40 employees to start.

But Beckett cautioned that much work has to be done to the building and the new Townsend operation may not come to fruition for a year to two years.

According to an informational letter from Stitchery Realty LLC to the planning board, Townsend is under contract to purchase the former mill.

“The contract is contingent on structural, environmental and zoning approval for industrial manufacturing at the site,” the Stitchery letter states.

The letter notes the existing parcels need to be changed, altered or granted a variance prior to purchase.

“We have an agreement with [Townsend] to lease one-third of the building with an option to take half of the space should we have manufacturing on these parcels,” the letter says. “The local manufacturer’s production will be inclusive of the building. There would be no external exhaust or wastewater additions to the building nor would they be emitting any particles. The lease and purchase of this building are dependent upon manufacturing at the [former] Diana Mill.”

The letter says the plan is not to “alter the existing footprint” of the building.

“Construction on the building will be to focus on getting it back up to code and capable of leasing out,” the letter states. “There are a few small out buildings on the southwest section of the Grove Street building parcel. These buildings were to house old boilers, which may need to come down as the roofs are in disrepair. The remainder of the building will be planned for future rental space for startup manufacturers, potential office space and even some co-working offices with shared services. These would be developed after the first phase of construction is complete and the building is up to code to be leased out.”

“Parking is a tough scenario for us,” Beckett said.

But he said his firm has been in touch with nearby JAVAC, to possibly use some of its parking spaces.

Beckett said a two-year plan for the complex is to take out some trees around the building and windows will be replaced.

The board voted to hold a public hearing on the project for 4 p.m. June 6 at City Hall. The board also voted itself lead agency for the state Environmental Quality Review process that is required.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

Store plans expansion

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council has agreed to hold a public hearing in regards to a proposal to sell a small piece of land to a city business owner for a planned expansion at the South Main Street store.

Country Farms gas station and convenience store. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

Country Farms gas station and convenience store. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

KERRY MINOR
Reporter
kminor@leaderherald.com
Originally published in The Leader-Herald, May 2, 2017

According to City Attorney Anthony Casale, the owner of the Country Farms gas station approached the city in 2016 seeking to obtain a parcel of city-owned property to allow for a planned expansion.

“It would allow for a more traditional type of expansion, as opposed to an awkwardly shaped corner to the building,” he said.

The city has previously said there is no forseeable use the city would have for the land.

The property owners purchased two adjacent properties lying to the north of the property– one had a house and the other a former restaurant. Both have been demolished.

The store, at 200 S. Main St. was purchased from Cumberland Farms Inc. in 2011 for $575,000 according to the Fulton County tax map.

Casale said the city has been awaiting a survey and description of the property before going forward. In addition, Casale said he was awaiting the owner hiring an attorney as well, which has since happened.

“We are now in a position to put this [matter] to bed,” Casale said.

Casale said the council previously agreed by motion last year to sell the plot for $100, based on the recommendation of City Assessor Joni Dennie.

The land abuts the Rail Trail, but the sale will not affect the Rail Trail, which runs behind the convenience store.

Casale said in order to move forward with a potential sale, the city would need to pass an ordinance after holding a public hearing.

The public hearing will be held during the May 9 meeting of the council.

Also during the meeting, the council approved two resolutions modifying the terms and conditions of employment for City Clerk Jennifer Mazur and Deputy Clerk Kristy Kemment.

The resolutions allow the two to opt out of the city health insurance plan. The change would also see a $1,500 annual payment to the clerk and deputy clerk for opting out of the city health plan.