By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News
Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — Plans to develop unused land into a commerce center in the town will soon be underway after years of discussion, officials said Monday at the board's work session.
Jim Jones, town engineer, presented the proposal to add a road, bridge and water lines to the future site of a business park, the Northtowns Commerce Center. The 92-acre, vacant property sits north of the Youngmann, near East Park Drive and Two Mile Creek.
"We have been trying to get this moving for quite some time," Jones said. "This will hopefully lead us to attracting developers."
The road on the property, which will include a roundabout, will lead to the first town-owned vehicular bridge. The bridge will then connect the road to Two Mile Creek at a new intersection.
"It should be complete by the end of September," Jones said.
The infrastructure project will cost $2.8 million, most of which will be covered by grant money.
The town has received $2.1 million from Geico for the project and $500,000 from the Empire State Development Corp. Officials said the entire cost of the project will be bonded, and then the town will be reimbursed by the two organizations.
While construction is taking place, officials will apply for the shovel-ready certification from the state — which will inform companies interested in the property that it will soon be ready.
"This is big news for the town," Town Councilman Joseph Emminger said. "Our growth in the next 20 or 30 years will be in our industrial center, and this is a prime location on Youngmann that has never been developed."
Officials have not decided whether the town will manage the development of the property. A formal hearing and another presentation on the infrastructure project for the public will be held at the board's next meeting May 20.
At the end of the meeting, Emminger told attendees that the county has decided not to repave Brighton Road between Niagara Falls Boulevard and Colvin Boulevard this summer, as previously planned.
The area between Parkhurst and Parker boulevards will still be repaved as part of the Parker-Fries sewer project, however.
"I have been informed they will not be paving it and are pulling the funding," Emminger said. "Anyone who has driven on Brighton knows it needs attention."
Emminger said he would draft a letter to county officials asking them to reinstate the funding, and he asked the board to authorize the supervisor to send the letter.
Also at Monday's meeting:
• Emminger announced that May 28 will serve as grievance day — residents' chance to appeal their assessments before an impartial board. May 28 is the last day for residents to fill out the paperwork to appeal.
• Councilman Dan Crangle announced that the small boat harbor at the foot of Sheridan Drive will be open Friday until Sept. 13. Passes for the harbor will also be available Friday and are sold at the Recreation office.Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or on Twitter, @JessicaLBagley.