CRG works on dissolving agencies

GLOVERSVILLE – After two years of effort, the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is aiming to finally dissolve its two subsidiary corporations by year’s end.

The CRG is the umbrella agency of the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation and the Crossroads Incubator Corp. The EDC focuses on revolving loan pools available for existing or new businesses. The CIC is the local real estate component of economic development, holding properties in the county’s industrial parks and Glove Cities.

The CRG and Fulton County government announced a new partnership in October 2012 that included a call to dissolve both the financially-troubled EDC and CIC. Two years later, it appears the CRG may see its goal on the horizon.

“We’re working toward those ends,” CRG President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Reese said Monday.

CRG board of directors Chairman Dustin Swanger said Monday the CRG’s main purpose should be on marketing Fulton County to businesses anyway.

Reese said the hope is to have the EDC dissolved by the end of the summer, before he leaves the CRG. Reese notified the CRG board in March he planned to leave his position by September after 35 years in economic development. The CRG is currently searching for his replacement.

“We’re working with the attorney to go through the motions to dissolve the EDC and transfer the assets and liabilities to the CRG,” Swanger said.

Dissolving the CIC is taking a little longer, Reese said, although he is confident it should occur by year’s end.

“We can basically shut down the CIC, probably after I leave, but certainly by the end of the year,” Reese said.

He said the CIC is still working on selling several of its properties, although it has made much progress with that in recent years. He noted the CIC earlier this year sold the Johnstown Professional Office Complex, a building it owned at 55 E. Main St. in Johnstown. The building was sold to Rick Frasier, who owns a hearing device business.

Reese said the CIC is also currently trying to sell its property at 110 Decker Drive in the Crossroads Business Park in Gloversville. The structure is the current home of the CRG. It has 11,600 square feet and was built in 2005.

The CIC continues to try to sell Estee Commons, a large structure on North Main Street in Gloversville that used to be the former Estee Middle School. Reese noted the Gloversville Common Council last week applied for $400,000 in 2014 Community Development Grant funding to undertake site clearance and redevelopment of the Estee site, which is a high priority project in the city.

Estee Commons already has apartments on the Fremont Street side of the structure. Liberty Affordable Housing of Rome, Oneida County, wants to construct an additional 35 one-bedroom units on the Estee Commons property at 90 N. Main St. to provide affordable housing for seniors.

Swanger said the CRG is trying to make the CIC “leaner” before dissolution.

He noted some of the members of the three boards that oversee the CRG, EDC and CIC are members of more than one board. He said dissolution of the two subsidiary agencies has another advantage: just one board for the CRG.

“It certainly makes a lot of sense to get down to one board,” Swanger said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.