Counties may restart business park talks

GLOVERSVILLE – Economic development officials in Fulton and Montgomery counties are trying to get the legislators of both counties together to revive talks aimed at creating a regional business park.

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese said he has been reviewing the initiative with Ken Rose, director of the Montgomery County Business Development Center.

“Ken and I are working on meeting with the two counties,” Reese said.

Reese said the meeting wouldn’t be open to the public. He said the two economic development officials want to meet privately about the business park idea with key members of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors and the Montgomery County Legislature.

“I think we’re trying to put a push on that for 2014,” Reese said.

Talks regarding the possible park stalled three years ago.

Reese said the counties “just can’t wait” for the municipalities involved to get together.

Fulton County supervisors in October set aside $150,000 in capital funding for 2014 toward creation of the regional business park for the two counties. About $90,000 of the cost would go toward engineering and design, while $60,000 would be for land acquisition. The project would include funding for a railroad study.

Economic development officials from both counties support creation of the park, which would be built on just under 300 acres of Mohawk farmland in Montgomery County. The site would be south of and adjacent to the Johnstown Industrial Park off Route 30A. Land would be annexed into the city of Johnstown to receive water and sewer services.

The park would then be shared by both counties trying to bring companies into the park.

The city of Johnstown and town of Mohawk have been unable to agree on a revenue-sharing plan for the park.

When talks broke off in early 2011, both municipalities were considering a 55 percent-45 percent split in revenue, with the larger share going to Johnstown. The duration of the agreement appeared to be a major sticking point, however. Johnstown wanted the agreement in place for 40 years, but Mohawk wanted a longer term.

Montgomery County Legislature Chairman Thomas Quackenbush said today he is glad the dialogue is continuing on the proposed regional business park, although he’s not aware of any meeting dates yet.

“I think we have to constantly continue talking,” he said. “I think it’s better for both our counties. I don’t think the talks should ever stop.”

Quackenbush said the communication between the two counties has been better lately. He said new Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort has a “direct line” to Fulton County Administrative Officer Jon Stead.

Rose said today a two-county meeting on the business park should occur in the “next couple weeks.”

“Obviously, I believe the two counties are on the same page as before,” Rose said.

He said it is imperative the counties work out “some type of agreement” on the business park so they can apply for state funding. He said the next round of the state’s Consolidated Funding Applications – the new conduit by which the state solicits economic development projects and doles out funding – will be coming up soon.

Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Rick Argotsinger and Economic Development-Environment Committee Chairman Michael F. Gendron couldn’t be reached this morning for comment.