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2 Medina sites top EDA economic development list

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 11 April 2013 at 12:00 am

ALBION – Orleans County officials were urged to seek state grant funding and other resources to make two sites in Medina more attractive to developers.

The spots – a 120-acre cow pasture owned by the Keppeler family on Route 31A and the Medina Business Park on Bates Road – were called “priority sites” by the Orleans Economic Development Agency.

It received a $50,000 state grant to develop an economic development plan for the county. The 850-page document looks at the strengths and weaknesses of business sites throughout the county.

O’Brien and Gere, consultants for the EDA with the project, said the two sites in Medina are the county’s best bet for luring manufacturing and other companies. The sites both have access to water, sewer and other infrastructure. They both fall within the 30-mile radius of the hydropower plant in Lewiston. The New York Power Authority determines which companies receive that low-cost electricity.

Steve Eckler, the project manager for the study, recommended the county pursue funding to advance the sites, making them more “shovel ready.” The county could seek funding for the sites in the next round of regional economic development grants, he said. The deadline to apply is expected to be in July.

The economic development plan lists four other sites in the county that have business potential. Two others are in Medina: Allis Road near the railroad tracks just off Route 31 and Bates Road near Brunner. Other sites with room for companies include the Holley Business Park off Route 31 and the Albion Business Park at the corner of Butts Road and Route 31.

The report from O’Brien and Gere looks at the zoning of all the business sites, access to infrastructure, proximity to the Thruway, airport and railroad, and other issues.

Eckler urged the county to work on all sites, removing obstacles to development.

“Ultimately you want to make them as shovel-ready as possible,” he said.

County officials said they would review the thick document.

“This plan certainly serves the county well in the short-term and the long-term,” said David Callard, chairman of the Orleans County Legislature.

The Orleans EDA board is expected to discuss the development plan during its 8 a.m. meeting Friday.