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Agency close to locking up control of former detention facility

September 5, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

JOHNSTOWN - The Fulton County Industrial Development Agency may next week conclude the environmental review process required to have the state turn over the former Tryon Youth Detention Center in Perth to the agency.

The IDA is trying to get the state to deed the property to it so the site can be redeveloped into a proposed Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center.

Officials say the Tryon site comprises 515 acres and about 40 existing buildings. There also is existing municipal water and sewer infrastructure, as well as natural gas and electric utilities. Officials say the new project will create new jobs and expand the local tax base.

However, as a precursor to the deed and property transfer agreement, the state asked the IDA to handle the state Environmental Quality Review Act process for the project. The state Office of General Services originally was going to do the SEQR review but said it prefers to have the IDA do it.

The IDA met recently at the Fort Johnstown Annex to approve having itself serve as lead agency for the SEQR process. The IDA will coordinate the SEQR review. IDA Executive Director James Mraz was authorized to distribute environmental assessment forms to involved agencies, such as the OGS and the Empire State Development Corp. regarding the Tryon project, requesting any comments and whether they consent to the IDA as lead agency by noon next Monday.

Mraz said Tuesday a meeting will be conducted Sept. 13 to conclude the Tryon SEQR process, which may lead to the state finally turning over the property.

"That will trigger getting us started with some work," Mraz said. "Most importantly, it clears the way for the agreement between the IDA and the state to be signed."

Once the transfer occurs, the IDA will then work with Fulton County to prepare a site plan for creating shovel-ready sites. Once the site plan is developed, the IDA will have to conduct another SEQR review on implementation of the plan.

The project is receiving a $2 million state grant boost, and it is listed as a Fulton County government capital project for 2013.

The IDA wants to market the Tryon land and buildings to existing and new businesses. The existing access road into the campus would be deeded to the county to own, operate and maintain it as a county road. The proposed $3.14 million cost for the capital plan is broken down by $2 million in revenue from a state grant, coupled with a $1.14 million county share.

The county share includes engineering and design, construction costs and costs associated with repaving County Highway 107.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors in July approved a $132,217 contract with C.T. Male Associates of Latham for engineering services.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at



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