Downtown Gloversville video shows plans for development

This in-depth video shows the 2016 development plan for downtown Gloversville, NY.

Glove Theatre marquee takes center stage

The Glove Performing Arts Center also eyes upgrade

May 19, 2016

By KERRY MINOR, reprinted from the Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE – Repairs to the damaged marquee of the Glove Performing Arts Center will hopefully be made over the summer, an official with the theater said.

Richard Samrov, the theater’s executive director and co-chairman of programming, said the theater has found a local man who is willing to give his time to the theater to install new panels and the wiring that secures letters onto the marquee that was damaged over the winter.

Strong winds in February caused three pieces of glass and several plastic panels to come off the marquee and shatter on the ground during two separate weeks. In all, more than half of the front of the marquee is missing.

glove theatre marquee showing damage from wind storms

The marquee at the Glove Performing Arts Center in Gloversville is shown this morning. The marquee was damaged this winter, and could be repaired this summer. The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor

 

“The marquee is very important. It is the first thing you see when you arrive,” he said

Samrov declined to name the person, stating he wasn’t sure if the individual wanted the publicity for his work.

The theater needs to replace six panels, along with wiring, metal edging and lighting. Samrov said finding parts for the marquee has been, and will continue to be, difficult due to its age.

“Being so old, it takes a bit of maneuvering to get new stuff,” Samrov said. “It takes time.”

He said eventually, the Glove Performing Arts Center wants to do an entire upgrade on the marquee, a project that would cost anywhere from $100,000 to $125,000.

For now, through, the Glove will focus on repairing the damage.

Samrov said donations for the marquee have been coming in since the spring from the community.

“People are interested in seeing the marquee repaired,” he said.

Samrov said anyone wanting to donate money for the repairs can send a check to The Glove Performing Arts Center, P.O. Box 566, Gloversville, NY 12078.

“If you want to continue to have the theater stay here, we need help and support to make it happen,” Samrov said. “We need support in order to do the things we need to do.”

Samrov said fundraising events that are held over the summer will have funds set aside from them for the marquee repairs. He said funds from the recent talent show were also set aside for the project.

“It takes a community to make something special. The more we have to work with the more successful we are,” Samrov said.

Kerry Minor covers Gloversville. She can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com

The NYT: Johnstown’s kosher cannabis makes national news

drying cannabis in Johnstown

At Vireo Health of New York’s plant in Johnstown, N.Y., Emily Errico, a cultivation technician, explaining the process of drying marijuana. Credit: JR Delia for The New York Times

BUSINESS DAY

The Rabbis Are Here to Inspect the (Legal) Weed

They had arrived here at Vireo Health of New York’s plant, about an hour northwest of Albany, looking for evidence that the company’s products merited kosher certification. They would eventually give their approval, but not before asking some tough questions, beginning in the room where row after row of plants hung upside down to dry.

“This is where they start getting worried,” recalled Ari Hoffnung, the company’s chief executive, because the kosher rules they were most focused on apply after a plant is dried.

As legalization of medical marijuana has hopscotched the nation, entrepreneurs have become nothing if not imaginative: Marijuana lotions, gluten-free edibles and many other niche products have hit the market. Businesses have also found resourceful ways to deal with a patchwork of taxation, banking and interstate commerce issues.

Little about the fledgling industry, then, comes as a surprise. But kosher pot?

Well, business is business, whether it’s widgets or weed, and any bit of competitive advantage is welcome.

“You’re seeing companies looking for creative ways to distinguish themselves, but also just interesting ways to appeal to different types of consumers,” said Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association.

Vireo’s plant here looks like a prison and smells like a dorm. It used to be the site of the Tryon Residential Center, a state-run facility for troubled youths that closed several years ago. The irony is not lost on Mr. Hoffnung or his workers.

Vireo Health Solutions medical marijuana products in Johnstown, NY

The final result: a bottle with a tiny kosher symbol. Credit: JR Delia for The New York Times

As he walked by old classrooms where hundreds of marijuana plants now grow, Mr. Hoffnung explained that the rabbis had mostly cared about what happened toward the end of the manufacturing process, which is why the drying plants had raised eyebrows. What chemicals did Vireo use to extract the cannabis oil, the rabbis had needed to know. What kind of capsules did they use?

Smoking marijuana by itself isn’t an issue — at least not from a kosher dietary standpoint — since the rules are intended for food and drinks. Products ingested in some way, on the other hand, are another story.

Ingredients must not come into contact with forbidden foods, like pigs or insects, and the restrictions extend all the way down the supply chain.

Every ingredient in a marijuana brownie, for example, needs to be kosher. The leaves, if eaten, would need to come from a bug-free plant. Marijuana gelcaps cannot be made out of pig gelatin. There are also rules for the equipment that processes kosher food. Vireo’s products that have been certified by the Orthodox Union can have the recognizable “OU” stamp on their packaging, and must submit to periodic inspections from the group’s rabbis.

“We literally took them through every square inch of the facility,” said David Ellis, the executive vice president of operations at Cresco Labs. The Chicago Rabbinical Council visited Cresco in March and said it was in the final stages of issuing a kosher certification that will cover everything from chocolate bars to concentrates.

Lifesaving medical treatment is an exception to kosher rules. A cancer drug made out of bacon-wrapped crickets, for example, would be fine. But while many patients use medical marijuana to treat the symptoms of serious illnesses, cannabis products are often not considered curative.

The products, almost certain to have a niche market, will be joining a booming industry. Legal sales of marijuana are expected to rise to $5.7 billion this year, up from $4.4 billion last year, according to a report from Ackrell Capital, a boutique investment bank. The recreational use of marijuana is legal in four states plus the District of Columbia, while medical marijuana is allowed in 19 more.

Mr. Hoffnung, 42, is quick to say that he is not a cannabis enthusiast and wants nothing to do with the recreational marijuana industry. He says that he considers Vireo, one of five companies licensed to sell medical marijuana products in New York, a pharmaceutical company.

Hydroponic growing area in medical marijuana plant in Johnstown, NY

Emily Errico checking a marijuana plant in the hydroponic growing area. Credit: JR Delia for The New York Times

Dressed in a dark blue blazer and white button-down shirt, he looks like the Wall Street executive that he used to be, having spent nearly a decade at firms including JPMorgan Chase. After Wall Street, Mr. Hoffnung served as a deputy comptroller for New York City. Part of his job involved analyzing the fiscal implications of medical marijuana.

“Just studying it with a group of economists and sophisticated financial analysts led me to believe wow, this is a multibillion-dollar market,” Mr. Hoffnung said.

The industry still faces a number of challenges, because the federal government considers marijuana an illegal drug. Many banks refuse to work with companies in the cannabis business, leading to stories about trunks full of cash and covert money transfers. And these companies cannot take advantage of some of the tax breaks intended for small businesses.

Vireo spent thousands of dollars on its kosher certification — Mr. Hoffnung declined to say just how much, because he sees it as one small step along medical marijuana’s march toward mainstream acceptance. The endorsement from a rabbinical organization, he hopes, will help the products appeal to a broader swath of consumers.

“There’s no question,” he said, “that the number of patients that desire kosher products, coupled with battling the stigma associated with medical marijuana, made this a wise economic investment.”

Representatives of the Orthodox Union and the Chicago Rabbinical Council, which inspected Cresco, said that the idea of kosher medical marijuana had stirred much internal debate, and that they would certify only medical marijuana and not products intended for the recreational market.

Deciding to go forward with the certification process “wasn’t an easy decision,” said Rabbi Moshe Elefant, the chief operating officer at the Orthodox Union’s kosher division.

But Rabbi Sholem Fishbane, the administrator of kosher laws for the Chicago Rabbinical Council, said he now expected to get more calls.

“What I thought would be, you know, maybe I’ll call it an amusing afternoon,” he said about the inspection, “really turned out to be a lot of lessons of Kosher 101.”

CRG set to reopen loan pool for city

April 20, 2016

By JASON SUBIK , Leader Herald 

GLOVERSVILLE – The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is set to soon reopen a $900,000 loan pool for city businesses.

“That fund has not been active. We’re going to be creating what will be called the Gloversville Loan Fund and we’re setting up a joint administration of that with the city and CRG,” CRG President Ron Peters said.

Peters said the loan pool, which is made up of money from the federal Urban Development Action Grant-funded loan program, had been inactive since at least 2012 when Gloversville initiated two lawsuits against the CRG and its precursor entities, the Fulton County Economic Development Corp. and the Cross Roads Incubator Corp. Gloversville had given the UDAG money to the Fulton County EDC to administer, but sought the return of the funds in the lawsuit.


I think in business, in the real world, you cut your losses and you move forward. We don’t want to be at war with CRG or anybody else. We want to make partnerships. [The New York Innovative Communities Network’s conference] last week wouldn’t have happened if we’re suing each other.” Gloversville Mayor Dayton King


On April 12 the Common Council voted unanimously to drop the lawsuits, forgiving approximately $1.2 million in Gloversville UDAC loans. These were the loans forgiven: $750,000 for the CIC Estee Commons project; $200,000 to the CIC for the construction of 110 Decker Drive, formerly the site of the CRG’s headquarters; $25,000 to Beebie Printing; and a $179,190 loan the city government had borrowed from the fund. Prior to the loan forgiveness, the 110 Decker Drive project had paid down the principle of its loan to $151,854, Beebie Printing had paid down its loan to $13,562, but neither the city nor the Estee Commons project had paid back any portion of its loans.

Mayor Dayton King said he and the Common Council evaluated the likelihood of recovery of any of the forgiven loans and decided it was in the city’s best interest to end the lawsuits.

“We were probably never going to get any of that money back,” King said. “We also realized that if we ever did get that money, it was never going to go back to our general fund. We did get a project out of it, the Estee Commons project, out of that initial grant money. We could have kept beating our heads against the wall and saying no on principle – that was really the theme from the last Common Council, ‘No, no matter what, this is the right thing to do and I don’t want to explain to my taxpayers why we’re forgiving these loans.’ But I think in business, in the real world, you cut your losses and you move forward. We don’t want to be at war with CRG or anybody else. We want to make partnerships. [The New York Innovative Communities Network’s conference] last week wouldn’t have happened if we’re suing each other.”

Peters said at its peak level, the Gloversville UDAG loan fund had approximately $2.2 million in it. As of Jan. 31, the loan fund has $900,000 in it and has three outstanding loans that are receiving monthly payments:

Peters said Gloversville’s decision to forgive the $1.2 million in non-performing loans was crucial to the CRG’s ability to move forward and reopen the UDAG loan fund.

“The issues had to be straightened out,” he said. “We’re going to create a new board – we haven’t had the organizational meeting yet -but we’re going to sit down and organize our new loan committee and it will be made up of the city and the CRG. We’re going to do this in the next week to 10 days.”

King said the new governance board for the Gloversville UDAG fund will include the mayor of Gloversville, three Common Council members and three members from CRG, giving Gloversville elected officials a one-vote majority control of how the money in the fund will be loaned out.

The largest portion of the forgiven money was $750,000 for the Estee Commons project. Peters said the rules of the federal program that governs UDAG loan pools require the UDAG loan to be paid off last for projects that have multiple funding sources. In the case of the Estee Commons project, the project has a $1.9 million private sector mortgage, which is known as the “first position” in the repayment structure.

Peters said Estee Commons, which now has an occupancy rate of between 93 and 100 percent for its 39 apartments, currently brings in about $21,000 per month in rent revenue after expenses, but has about $19,000 in monthly mortgage payments, not counting taxes or insurance. He said at its current rate of payment it won’t repay its private sector mortgage for at least another 15 years.

Peters said the purpose of the Estee Commons project was to help spark urban renewal in the neighborhood in which it was built, but so far the prevailing market rent rates in that neighborhood have not risen to the level necessary to repay both the private and public sector financing for the project. He said rent revenue would need to be about 60 percent higher than it currently is for it to have reasonably repaid its $1.7 million private sector mortgage and the $750,000 from the Gloversville UDAG loan fund.

Until recently, Estee Commons only had about a 60 percent occupancy rate, which Peters attributes to the CRG having only a two-member staff, down from the eight-member staff the Fulton County EDC had at its peak. Peters said the CRG increased the occupancy rate by hiring Schenectady-based property management company Maddalone & Associates, which is paid about 7 percent of the rent revenues for the site.

Peters said Estee Commons was effectively unsellable so long as the $750,000 UDAG loan was still a lien against the value of the property.

“It would be like buying a $20,000 car and saying ‘I know its worth $20,000, but I’m going to give you $40,000 for it,” he said.

King said the low probability of Estee Commons ever selling for a price high enough to repay the UDAG loan was a key part of the city’s decision to drop the lawsuit.

CRG recently relocated its headquarters from 110 Decker Drive, one of the projects which had a loan forgiven, to the former OHM Laboratories building at 34 W. Fulton St. in Gloversville, a 35,000 square foot location the CRG plans to use as a business incubator.

King said there was never an explicit quid pro quo agreement for Gloversville to forgive the Decker Drive loan and the CRG to move to downtown Gloversville, but he’s glad the organization made the move.

News: Estee demolition financing sought

Housing financing still up in the air

By MICHAEL ANICH, Leader Herald

CRG President and CEO Ron Peters said Friday he thought he would have heard by now from the state Division of Housing & Community Renewal.

He said the state will be announcing soon whether financing for Liberty Affordable Housing Inc. of Rome, Oneida County, will come to fruition.

“It may be in the next month,” Peters said.

The CRG owns the Estee building, which is destined for demolition anyway.

“We’re looking at taking the property down in any event, before the end of the year,” Peters said.

Liberty Affordable Housing has plans for an $8 million housing complex at the site of the former middle school facing North Main Street. The firm, which owns apartment complexes in Amsterdam and elsewhere in upstate New York, agreed in 2013 to buy the property. The company wants to tear down the vacant school and build a 37-unit apartment building.

But Liberty Affordable Housing’s purchase is contingent on funding from the state Division of Housing & Community Renewal. The company was unsuccessful in its first two applications, including last year when it sought $2 million in Housing Trust Fund Program funds and $800,000 from low income housing credit programs.

Liberty Affordable Housing’s purchase may also include the 39-unit Estee Commons on Fremont Street. It is the portion of the former school renovated into downtown apartments several years ago.

Liberty Affordable Housing’s contract with the CRG expires after this round of funding. The CRG estimates an $800,000 demolition cost.

The city has $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the property which must be spent by the year’s end. Along with other state funding, there is about $650,000 available toward demolition. The balance would hopefully come from other state funds, Peters says.

The state Division of Housing & Community Renewal’s regional office in Syracuse couldn’t be reached Friday for comment.

Razing the former Estee Middle School would be the second large demolition in the city this decade. In 2011, the abandoned First Baptist Church on South Main Street was demolished at a total cost around $500,000, most of it covered by state funds.

Reporter Michael Anich can be contacted by email at johnstown@leaderherald.com.

CRG set to move into new home in Gloversville

New Digs

April 3, 2016

By MICHAEL ANICH, Leader Herald

GLOVERSVILLE -As Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and CEO Ron Peters led a tour last week through his new building, which opens to the public Monday, superlatives came easy.

“The infrastructure of this property is amazing,” Peters says. “It’s very deceiving when you drive past the property.”

The CRG recently moved from offices at 110 Decker Drive in the Crossroads Business Park, to the 35,000-square-foot, former OHM Laboratories building at 34 W. Fulton St. in Gloversville.

Article Photos

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President Ron Peters points out loading docks at new office facilities that will double as incubator space on West Fulton Street in Gloverville.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan CRG President Ron Peters points out the loading docks outside during a tour of their new facility on West Fulton Street in Gloversville on Thursday.

It is the first downtown presence by Fulton County’s largest economic development agency in the county’s largest city.

But perhaps more importantly, the CRG plans to showcase the rest of the building as prime incubator space for burgeoning businesses.

“OHM donated it to us for nothing,” Peters said. “They kept the property and paid the taxes. They were very good corporate citizens.”

New Brunswick, N.J.-based OHM is a chemical company, which Peters said wanted to help out Gloversville by offering the building for free after it moved out.

A tour of the building – also known as the McCormick Center – finds a maze of small and large offices and warehouse space, mostly very clean. OHM Laboratories moved out the fall of 2011 and the CRG successfully negotiated to take over the facility.

The agency and its four-person staff is occupying a small suite of offices in the west corner of the first floor of the building. The CRG also plans to create a downtown business incubator center in the building for small or start-up businesses, and have other types of tenants. The incubator business effort will allow startups to grow and then move to another location.

Peters says the CRG is “very excited” about its move.

“This is a great building in the heart of downtown Gloversville and is an ideal location, not only for our office, but for other small businesses,” he said. “We look forward to using this space as a springboard for growth in Gloversville’s downtown business district.”

The CRG created five move-in ready office suites on the first floor of the building adjacent to its office. Office spaces range from a single office to a two- room suite and are equipped with office furniture and internet connections. Tenants in the building can utilize a 12 to 16-person conference room and an eat-in kitchen.

Peters said the public will be able to walk into the CRG offices directly off West Fulton Street. But a tour from the basement to the third floor reveals incubator space that eclipses the CRG offices, which includes a conference room. Other spaces include an IT room, a common area for a breakroom, server area, enormous second floor work spaces, and separate rooms with cubicles.

“It has one of the best rubberized roof systems in Gloversville,” Peters said.

The building includes an impressive freight elevator system in the back.

Peters showed off refrigeration coolers in mint condition and vaults. Separate electrical units can power different parts of the building. Floors throughout the building keep dust to a minimum, with a filtering system.

Peters said he talked to a Utica official who said the building is one of the nicest downtown buildings in upstate New York.

“There is definite potential here for a start-up manufacturing business,” Peters said. “The basement of the building has an area that was once used as a USDA-approved clean room. We would love to find a tenant that could use that type of space again. It would be perfect for food grade or another comparable use. There is a loading dock on the first floor, a freight elevator in the building, and a large warehouse area on the second floor that has a refrigeration unit. The possibilities are endless.”

CRG Board of Directors Chairman Dustin Swanger said having his agency downtown is all “part of a puzzle” to boost job creation in the county.

“There’s really a grassroots effort to bring Gloversville back to its glory,” Swanger said. “There’s a lot of people working toward making Gloversville a progressive city, moving forward. I think the [new CRG] space has a tremendous opportunity to create a true incubator, which is really needed downtown.”

Gloversville Mayor Dayton King said everybody wins by having the county’s economic development agency situated downtown.

“I truly believe they want to help Gloversville and Fulton County,” King says of the CRG.

He said the move came about with the assistance of several Gloversville officials.

“We’ve been spending some time with Ron Peters,” King said.

He said key players in getting the vacant building up and running again included City Attorney Anthony Casale, 2nd Ward Councilman Arthur Simonds and 3rd Ward Councilman Vincent DeSantis. The mayor said Gloversville 4th Ward Supervisor Charles Potter, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, is also heavily involved in improving downtown.

“I gotta say the building sits in my ward and it’s great to see utilization in any form,” Potter said. “That’s a positive step.”

Potter said the incubator opportunities enhance what is already downtown, such as the Gloversville Public Library, Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Mohawk Harvest Coop.

King said the new downtown incubator part of the CRG building is “huge” – something the city has desired since at least 2010.

“We’re just really teaming up with the CRG,” he said. “I think we’re going to have a really productive year.”

The CRG, which used to be known as the Fulton County Economic Development Corp., has moved several times since the EDC was created back in the late 1980s. The EDC was originally headquartered at the Crossroads Industrial Park on Route 29 in Gloversville for many years, before moving to the Johnstown Professional Office Complex on East Main Street in Johnstown. The agency later moved to the Crossroads Business Park in Gloversville. The agency moved back to the Johnstown Professional Office Complex in 2010 before eventually settling back at the business park.

The move by the CRG comes just in time for the New York State Urban Council’s quarterly meeting April 14 and 15 downtown, The event will put a spotlight on Gloversville and include: breakfast at City National Bank, workshops, lunch and community presentation at the Glove Theatre, walking tour of downtown, dinner at the Eccentric Club, and a meeting at the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative.

Front page cover photo is of the new home for CRG in Gloversville. Photo by Bill Trojan.

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

 

Urban Council zeroes in on downtown Gloversville

downtown gloversville BID

Downtown Gloversville

Downtown Gloversville will be the setting for the quarterly meeting of the NYS Urban Council, a group that facilitates and encourages revitalization and development of central business districts in cities, towns and villages across New York State.

The conference: “Gloversville – Downtowns with a Future – The Making of Places,” will run Thursday, April 14 at 8:30 a.m. to noon on Friday, April 15 at various downtown buildings within walking distance, starting at the NBT Bank Building at 12 North Main Street
Gloversville.

Formed in 1991, the NYS Urban Council gets assistance from the Empire State Development Corporation as it brings together “downtown practitioners” and economic development professionals to share ideas about breathing life into business districts,

The regional meeting in Gloversville is a chance to convene professionals to work together to identify solutions for common issues faced in our communities and business districts.   A peer-based resource, the Council tracks innovative programs and communities, in hopes of being a go-to resource for New York business districts.  This regional meeting is open to downtown and Main Street professionals, their respective board members and businesses and the like to come learn in this “live” learning laboratory.   The planned “Live Learning Laboratory” program will be fast-paced, with peer-to-peer exchanges, lively speakers, peer professional social opportunities and best (and not-so-good) practice examples.

Holiday Inn Gloversville/Johnstown

Holiday Inn Johnstown/Gloversville

Organizers are putting together an informal gathering opportunity for those who plan to arrive the night before on April 13. Contact the local hosts, Vince DeSantis of the City of Gloversville, vdesantis48@icloud.com or Ron Peters, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth 518-725-7700.

Tickets are $75 for the full conference or $25 for the Thursday night dinner and presentation only. Tickets may be purchased online here (with an added EventBrite handling fee.)

The Holiday Inn Johnstown/Gloversville is offering a $90 room rate  April 13 -15 for participants who mention NYS Urban Council/INNCOM (308 N Comrie Ave, Johnstown, NY 12095 (518) 762-4686).

 

Program at a Glance

Thursday, April 14, 2016

8:30 a.m. Registration Open with Complimentary Breakfast at former City National Bank building 12 N Main St, Gloversville, NY 12078 

9:15 a.m. Welcoming Remarks 

9:45 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Break Out Sessions

Workshop Option A — “Raising the Quality of Life for Living in your Downtown with Crime Prevention” at the former City National Bank / NBT Bank Building 12 N Main St, Gloversville, NY 12078


Topics include -

  • Community Policing and Crime Prevention in your Downtown
  • Panel: Neighborhood police programs. The first line of economic development in your downtown is dealing with perception and the safety of your center city.

Workshop Option B — “The Making of a Place is all about Messaging”

  • Panel: Marketing, special events, outreach. What are the tools to building a vibrant life in town? Experts in downtown programming and marketing will speak of the tools and techniques they use to affect positive messaging and create a sense of place in their communities.
glove marquee

The Glove Theatre


12:00 p.m.
 Luncheon at The Glove Performing Arts Center, 42 N Main St, Gloversville
During lunch, the Committee for Gloversville’s Downtown will give a status update and ask members of the local business community, participants and downtown practitioners from across the state to share ideas to help shape the host community’s plans for the future.

1:45 p.m. Afternoon Sessions

Workshop C — “Innovative Programming for your Community”

  • What others are doing to fill the gap or at least encourage the gap be filled; pop-up retail, food trucks, place-making, alternative energy, car sharing, bike sharing, incentives, office to residential conversions 

Workshop D — “Chamber Rotunda-Camp Fire Session”

  • Sit around the campfire (indoors) and discuss the challenges of bringing a “Creative Class” sector to life in your community. Discuss with your peers what they are doing in their communities to bring about change in food, the arts, creativity in development, technology and education into the heart of town.  

3:15 p.m. Walking Tour of Downtown followed by tour of Schine Memorial Hall - Meet at Chamber Building.

 

5:00 p.m. Reception and Dinner at the Eccentric Club

  • cocktails cash bar, followed by a buffet dinner.  
Cooperative Market in downtown Gloversville.

Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market in downtown Gloversville

Friday, April 15, 2016

8:15 to 9:45 a.m. Urban Council Board Meeting (for Urban Council Board Members)

9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Non Board Members meet for breakfast at Mohawk Harvest Cooperative

Morning Program

  • Statewide & Region-by-Region Coffee Chat

Conference speakers, panel details and requests:

Anthony Capece Albany Central BID: 518-462-4300

International site selectors find out about Tryon site

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth CEO Ronald Peters has returned from a meeting in Tennessee with site selectors from across the country where he promoted the opportunities available at Tryon Technology Park.

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan  FCCRG President Ron Peters

The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan
FCCRG President Ron Peters

The Site Selectors Guild’s Annual Conference held in Nashville from Wednesday to Friday was a prime networking opportunity for FCCRG and Peters. Getting the Tryon Technology Park on the radar of so many influential consultants means that information about the site will be communicated to corporations across the world.

Peters said delivered brochures, as well as the message that New York state is “embracing” businesses that wish to come here. He also met again with Michael Mullis, a site selector who visited Fulton County in 2013 and has had positive things to say about the potential of the Tryon site.

FCCRG’s Peters said he’s trying to arrange a tour of Tryon for other members of the Site Selectors Guild. “They have a forum and potentially could come back,” he said. “The word’s getting out there.”

The 500-acre site, mostly in the Town of Perth, is owned by the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency. Fulton County is assisting in development and FCCRG is marketing the project. The flagship tenant, Vireo Health of New York LLC, began production at the site this summer of pharmaceutical cannabis under a special license from New York State.

Peters also plans to attend the next forum of the Industrial Asset Management Council from March 12 through 16 in New Orleans.

Educating a workforce in Fulton and Montgomery

Efforts to promote a workforce that is ready for the jobs being created in Fulton and Montgomery counties made significant progress in 2015, according to a report this week by the Fulton-Montgomery CEO Roundtable.

PTECH flourishes and expands

The Pathways in Technology Early College High School (PTECH) program, first introduced locally by the state Department of Education in 2014, served 100 students across the two counties in 2015. Students enter the PTECH program as 9th graders and work simultaneously toward earning a Regents High School Diploma and an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science from Fulton-Montgomery Community College at no cost to the student’s family.

The 4-6 year sequence emphasizes individualized pathways to completion, work place experiences, mentorship, in-depth project-based learning and real world experiences.High schools collaborate with the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce to provide mentors for PTECH students.

The initial PTECH programs focus on Business Management and Administration, Advanced Manufacturing (Clean Technology), Information Technology and Health Sciences.

The state has awarded HFM BOCES approval for an expansion of PTECH to focus on agricultural science, fisheries and wildlife technology. The program will partner schools with FMCC and the State University of New York at Cobleskill for AG-P-TECH, scheduled to be launched in September.

Smart Scholars

Two other programs are working to help high school students in the two counties achieve graduation and pursue pathways to specific careers.

Smart Scholars Early College High School Program is giving students in the Greater Amsterdam School District the opportunity and preparation to accelerate the completion of their high school studies while earning transferable college credits at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. The first batch of Smart Scholars graduates in 2014 went on to study at The College of St. Rose, SUNY Plattsburgh, Elmira College, Hartwick College, Manhattan College, Russell Sage College, SUNY Cobleskill, Keuka College, St. John’s University, New England College and Fulton-Montgomery.

In photo standing left to right: Smart Scholar Amsterdam High seniors attending classes at FM: Carlos Mercado, Jr., Gregory Kerrick, “JoJo” Jonardy Anil, Krysta Ortega, Jennifer Alvarez, and Marieshellie Mora; Seated left to right: Program Coordinator Effie Maglaras with seniors Marilyn Rodriguez, Gabrielle Mitchell, and Samantha Waldvogel (Missing from photo: Ilenis Quinones)

Left to right: Smart Scholar Amsterdam High seniors attending classes at FM in 2014: Carlos Mercado, Jr., Gregory Kerrick, “JoJo” Jonardy Anil, Krysta Ortega, Jennifer Alvarez, and Marieshellie Mora; Seated left to right: Program Coordinator Effie Maglaras with seniors Marilyn Rodriguez, Gabrielle Mitchell and Samantha Waldvogel (Missing from photo: Ilenis Quinones)

Pathways to Development established Freshmen Academies for Amsterdam, Gloversville and Johnstown 9th grade students. These “schools within a school” aim to ease the stresses of transition from middle school to high school.

Another education-related enhancement promoted by the CEO Roundtable in 2015 included Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s Global Village, currently in development to provide student housing, open-market apartments, housing for active mature adults, restaurants and small shops with a contemporary ‘college-town’ feel.

The CEO Roundtable was formed in 2011 by a group of business leaders in Fulton and Montgomery counties to create a business-friendly climate that will help the region retain existing businesses and attract new ones.

Fage gets NY thank you for doubling production in Johnstown

In a nod to the enormous investment the yogurt producer has made in Fulton County, Empire State Development Corp. has awarded $780,000 to Fage USA Dairy Industry to cover the costs of new machinery and equipment.Fage Yogurt silos in Johnstown, NY

In September, the 87-year-old Greek company completed a two-year, $82 million expansion of its yogurt factory in Johnstown, part of a plan to retain 160 existing jobs and create 130 new ones. The company is advertising for lab technicians, maintenance technicians, warehouse and field operators, and according to ESD, has already created 113 new positions.

FAGE is one of 28 yogurt manufacturers in New York, double the number in 2000. FAGE continues to ride on the growing popularity of Greek yogurt as it faces growing competition from other major players including Chobani and Alpina USA.

To keep pace, FAGE has invested $200 million in the City of Johnstown since the company began production there six years ago.

“It’s good news. Fage is a good corporate citizen of Fulton County and a good employer,” said Ron Peters, the president of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.