County IDA has high hopes for 2022 | News, Sports, Jobs
The Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency is looking to several vacant lots this year, including the Furniture Mart Building in Jamestown and the former NRG power station in Dunkirk.
IDA’s work plan for 2022 includes the acquisition of at least one large parcel or multiple parcels for the expansion of ready-made sites in the county, the reactivation of several vacant key buildings, including the Furniture Mart Building, the White Inn, the Silver Creek School and the large building formerly owned by ConAgra in Dunkirk; continue to work with the City of Dunkirk, State, and NRG to return the NRG facility to productive use; and develop a marketing and branding strategy for the county to help address population decline and provide labor for businesses.
The county is working with the City of Dunkirk to undertake Phase II of the NRG Power Plant Reuse Project, funded with a $160,000 grant through NYSERDA’s Just Transition Site Reuse Planning Grant Program , to advance several pre-development activities. These may include a detailed infrastructure assessment, a Phase 2 environmental site assessment, development of marketing materials, site planning, workforce development strategies, non-site-specific community revitalization, public and other engagement, as determined by the initial baseline planning process, and is a follow-up to Phase I work already completed.
IDA officials also hired a director of marketing and communications to develop a marketing strategy to entice people to move to the area to take up available jobs, retire to Chautauqua County, or visit.
Work will also resume this year to spend federal stimulus funds. This funding includes $1.4 million to acquire shovel-ready sites for development, $1.4 million for water and sewer infrastructure for shovel-ready sites; $500,000 to support economic development projects through the Chautauqua County Economic Growth Partnership, $352,000 for workforce development efforts through the Workforce Investment Board, Jamestown Community College, County Visitors Bureau and IDA, and $232,540 for agricultural improvement through Cornell Cooperative Extension. The county is also using $400,000 to provide marketing assistance to county businesses and nonprofits.
Mark Geise, deputy county director for economic development and chief executive of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency, recently told IDA board members that the agency has approved nearly 50 projects. , including approving loans for businesses, providing incentives for development projects, and securing grants on behalf of businesses.
“It’s been an epic year” said Geise. “Through all the diversity posed by the pandemic, the CCIDA team managed to knock it out of the park. This is due to the unwavering dedication of an extremely capable staff, board and team of community volunteers who make up our loan transaction committee, and many others. We will continue to be aggressive and intentional while continuing to drive the ball forward in terms of economic development, as well as job creation and retention.
Some of the projects included incentives for the $13 million Love’s Travel Stop and Country Store in Ripley; Webb’s $18 million Chautauqua Resort in Mayville; the $41 million American Frieza in Dunkirk; the $1.4 million Hideaway Bay Resort in Silver Creek; the $11.6 million redevelopment of the former Welch headquarters building in Westfield; the securitization of loans/grants for Jamestown Container Corporation and Jamestown Advanced Products in the amount of $4.6 million; the sale of land owned by the CCIDA to develop a new YMCA facility in Jamestown; and several small solar projects (less than 5 MW).
In 2021, IDA also approved CARES Act loan funding for 25 businesses across Chautauqua County for a total of $5 million, which was part of the $10.5 million grant from the IDA. ‘U.S. Economic Development Administration received by IDA in 2020. IDA has been involved in projects, loans and grants that will result in a $164 million investment in Chautauqua County, according to Geise, who are expected to create 314 new permanent jobs over three years and retain more than 1,750 jobs.
“I am delighted with the work undertaken by the CCIDA and the broader economic development team, which includes the Partnership for Economic Growth and the County Planning Department,” said County Executive PJ Wendel. “I commend Mark Geise and the CCIDA team for their laser focus on Chautauqua County’s upward trajectory despite the pandemic. As I have said many times, our comeback will be greater than our setback, and the tally of CCIDA’s accomplishments in 2021 is a testament to the significant progress we continue to make for our local economy year after year.
Additionally, Geise discussed what he considers to be the top 10 accomplishments resulting from activities undertaken by IDA and the County Economic Development Team in 2021. In addition to several of the larger development projects approved by the IDA and previously mentioned, Geise also discussed the $1.2 million Ralph Wilson Jr. Foundation grant received by the Chautauqua County Partnership for Economic Growth; more than $4 million received for economic development projects through the county’s American Rescue Plan Act allocation; continued collaboration with the cities of Jamestown and Dunkirk; IDA’s activities to help businesses respond to the COVID-19 pandemic – including the EDA Cares Act Loan Program, the Personal Protective Equipment Business Assistance Program, and the CCIDA working capital – and analysis and continued negotiations with several landowners to expand the CCIDA shovel- site offers ready.
“Congratulations to the entire economic development team for all your dedication and hard work. said Mike Metzger, Chairman of IDA’s Board of Directors. “We have excellent relationships with business, municipalities and the county, and this has proven true in the substantial impact we have across the county. A special thank you to the CCIDA Board of Directors and Volunteer Loan Committee, as well as the staff and all entities involved in economic development in Chautauqua County for making 2021 a great year.
The CCIDA/CREDC 2021 Year-End Report and 2022 Work Plan are available on the IDA website at www.ccida.com.