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Medina Business Park will become ‘shovel ready’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 August 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – The village of Medina, town of Shelby and Orleans Economic Development Agency are working together to make Medina Business Park attractive to developers.

MEDINA – It already has a road, and there is plenty of vacant land. But the Medina Business Park is lacking an important designation that would gain the notice of developers: “Shovel Ready.”

But that should soon change. The town of Shelby, village of Medina and Orleans Economic Development Agency are working for “shovel ready” status for the 65-acre business park on Bates Road. Clearing all of the hurdles for environmental and surveying work, as well as approvals with state agencies offers businesses a chance to build at the site without delays. But to get that status will cost about $90,000, according to a report from the Orleans EDA.

“This has been a high priority,” said Medina Mayor Andrew Meier. “We’re very happy to be working with Shelby and the EDA.”

Medina and Shelby have both committed $20,000 towards the costs of obtaining shovel ready status. The EDA has agreed to spend $4,367.75 from the Orleans Land Restoration Corporation. National Grid would pay half of the $88,735.50 cost with a grant.

“We can accomplish a lot more if we all work together,” said Ken Schaal, a Shelby town councilman.

Shelby set aside $10,000 for the project in its 2013 budget, and Schaal expects the other $10,000 will be in the town’s 2014 spending plan.

To reach “shovel ready” status, the site needs nearly $90,000 of services, including boundary, topographical and survey work ($26,010); geotechnical information ($16,000); concept plans and traffic study ($15,000); State Historic Preservation Office application ($1,500); environmental impact report ($3,500); meetings and coordination with Empire State Development ($15,000) and an application to Empire State Development for “shovel ready” status for the site ($7,500). The costs also include a 5 percent contingency for $4,225.50.

The EDA is working to have two shovel ready sites. The other site is a 120-acre cow pasture owned by the Keppeler family on Route 31A .

The EDA last year and in early 2013 worked with a consultant to develop an 850-page plan for economic development for the county. The report was complete in April. The project identified the two sites in Medina – the Keppeler site and the Medina Business Park – as priorities.

O’Brien and Gere, consultants for the EDA with the project, said the two sites 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.