Tonawanda News

May 20, 2013

Town sees interest in new business park

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — TOWN OF TONAWANDA — The board approved a $2.8 million bond Monday night for infrastructure improvements to the town's future business park, the North Youngmann Commerce Center. 

The town will be reimbursed for most of that cost through $2.1 million from the GEICO fund, which was provided to the town for its support of the company's move to Amherst.

"About 200 people from the town now work there," Robert Dimmig, executive director of Town of Tonawanda Development Corp, said at the board's regular session Monday. "Now, this has come full circle ... it's a win-win for everyone."

At least $500,000 will come from Empire State Development Corp. for the project, as well. 

The construction will include adding a road, bridge and water lines to the 92-acre site, which sits just north of the Youngmann near East Park Drive and Two Mile Creek. 

The new road, which will include a roundabout, will lead to the first town-owned vehicular bridge. The bridge will then connect to Two Mile Creek at a new intersection. 

Construction is set to be complete by the end of the summer. While the work is taking place, officials will apply for shovel-ready certification from the state — which will inform interested companies that the property is finished. 

"Once the construction is complete, we will have doubled the amount of shovel-ready land in the town," Dimmig said. "This, along with the Riverview Solar Technology Park, shows that we can compete for a lot of the newer generation of projects." 

The town hasn't decided whether it will manage the property itself or hire a developer to do so. But Monday, board member Joseph Emminger said that he has received calls from two interested developers hoping to take over the property. 

"And when I say interest, I mean interest," he said. "We need to talk about that." 

The board also approved a resolution support of a proposed amendment to the state Real Estate Tax Law. The amendment would label fiber optic cables as assessed property. 

Town Assessor Dave Marrano said Verizon has been attempting to exclude the cables from the assessments after a decision was made in New York City to remove the property from assessments locally. 

Verizon has been trying to implement that decision statewide, Marrano said. 

"It has always been part of the equation," he said. "And it should continue to be."

Marrano also gave a brief presentation on changes to the assessor's website and the town's grievance day, which is May 28. Residents will be able to file their paperwork to appeal their assessments, and are encouraged to make an appointment to do so. 

May 28 is the last day to file the paperwork, Marrano said. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter at @JessicaLBagley