Local growth coming in ’14

We expect the new year will bring economic growth to the area. Several major economic development projects are either about to start or could receive crucial approvals soon.

In Johnstown, a $120 million expansion of Fage USA yogurt is expected to create 150 new jobs and a new T.J. Maxx department is getting ready to open. Gloversville will enjoy a full year of the sales tax revenue generated by the new Walmart Supercenter. At Fonda speedway, new promoter Matt DeLorenzo is making exciting changes. The track will host the East Coast Snocross Series Jan. 11 and 12.

Regionally, three major projects could take important steps forward soon: The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency’s Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center is waiting for state approval for the IDA to buy the 515-acre Tryon property. The proposed Regional Business Park, which would be built on land annexed from the town of Mohawk into the city of Johnstown in exchange for a tax- sharing agreement, could come closer to reality. New Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius has pledged to work with new Mohawk Supervisor Edward Bishop to create the 300-acre park, and the newly elected leaders will get a chance to do that this year. As improbable as it might have once seemed, there is also a chance the regional business park could spur the return of rail service along a stretch of the abandoned FJ&G Railroad between Fonda and Johnstown.

With all of this activity, it’s possible 2014 may be remembered as the year the local region turned a corner toward sustained economic growth. We hope that’s true, and we hope all of our local leaders, whether newly elected or long- tenured, will be committed to that goal.