GLOVERSVILLE — Fulton County needs to start growing larger sites for development according to the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth.
During Friday’s Board of Directors meeting, CRG President and CEO Ronald Peters said the state recently sent two Requests For Proposals for projects looking for space in industrial parks that the county likely wouldn’t be able to accommodate due to a lack of available space.
“I don’t think that we can respond to either one of them because of what they’re looking for and the sites we have available,” Peters said. “I’ll send them what I have, but it’s not really what they’re looking for in the sites that they need unfortunately.”
Board Chair Geoffrey Peck suggested that Peters compile a list of projects that Fulton County was passed over for to demonstrate to local officials the need to identify and cultivate land for development.
“To have a list of opportunities that we had to pass on because of A, B and C that creates a pretty strong case for looking at new development space in the county,”Peck said.
Peters said he already kept individual files on these projects for this purpose, but would generate the list to create a more compelling argument. Peters added that he discussed the land issue with Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead on Thursday.
“I highlighted that exact thing; developing sites in Fulton County to handle these RFPs. We need that, we don’t really have that in our inventory,” Peters said.
When the CRG receives RFPs that the county can’t accommodate Peters reaches out to local landowners that might have the necessary space, obtaining information from them to include in the organization’s response. But he said the county needs to take steps to identify suitable sites or the area might stop receiving RFPs.
“That was one of the key takeaways from the Site Selector’s Guild event last month, they said we’re not going to call you if you don’t have any sites,” Peters said. “Don’t put yourself in that position.”
“I think we’re pretty close right now,” Peck said.
Peck noted that he recently tried unsuccessfully to help someone locate 60,000-square-feet of building space in the area, pointing to Townsend Leather’s plans to complete extensive renovations of the former Diana Knitting Mill as an example of the county’s need.
“Adapting that is not an easy project,” Peck said. “There aren’t any big vacant buildings around, not of class A space at least.”
Peck said the lack of available space for development needs to be highlighted for the county to convince officials to allow the CRG, the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency or someone else to take lead agency to identify potential sites, gauge interest from landowners and explore funding options.
“The larger sites for industrial uses, for manufacturing are getting harder to find in New York State and we have to get on top of that curve and create more sites that are available for manufacturers,” Peters said. “We have a lot of assets here, we don’t have enough sites. Hopefully in the future that can be worked on and we can get the sites available.”