Fulton County seeks grant for Tryon damage repair

JOHNSTOWN – Fulton County will apply for a state grant to help pay for repairs and extra security needed because of vandalism last month at the former Tryon Detention Center.

The county has been working with the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency to secure title of the 56-building, 515-acre Perth property from the state. Local officials want to turn the site into a technology park and business incubator center.

County Planning Director James Mraz, who also serves as IDA executive director, said the campus was vandalized July 18. C.T. Male Associates estimated the cost of the damage and a security upgrade at $96,000. Work may include installation of 6-foot-high security fence.

“They yanked out all the copper wire in several locations,” county Administrative Officer Jon Stead told the Board of Supervisors on Monday.

Mraz said the county contacted the state Office of General Services and Office of Children and Family Services about the vandalism. He said both agencies indicated the state carries no property insurance on its facilities, so no insurance claim can be filed to repair the damage.

The board passed a resolution authorizing submittal of a Consolidated Funding Application, or CFA, for grant funding through the state’s Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council. The CFA would fund up to 50 percent of the $96,000 cost.

The resolution indicated damage must be repaired to electrical wiring and equipment at the Tryon wastewater pump station to restore it to operating capacity.

Gloversville 1st Ward Supervisor Marie Born said sewage, plumbing and electrical services at Tryon are needed.

“We more or less have to do the repairs,” Born said.

Stead said the IDA may be able to pay for a portion of the repairs.

The county already has obtained a $2 million state grant to install new water and sewer lines and reconstruct a portion of the existing interior access road at Tryon. That project won’t start until 2014.

Johnstown 3rd Ward Supervisor Jack Callery – the only supervisor opposed to submitting the application for the repairs – noted grant funding only would cover 50 percent of the cost.

“I have a real problem with this,” Callery said. “We don’t even own the property.”

Stead said the application is due soon and the county is trying to use “forethought” in seeking funding to pay for the vandalism. He said a “good portion” of the vandalism will have to be repaired to make the campus usable again.

He said the title may be turned over by year’s end.

Stead said the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the vandalism. No arrests have been made, he said.

Michael Anich can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.