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State OKs transfer of Tryon

Fulton County to redevelop property

September 21, 2012
By MICHAEL ANICH , The Leader Herald

PERTH - Even though the state Thursday approved transfer of the former Tryon property to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency for redevelopment as a business park, the deed may not be turned over for a couple months.

IDA Executive Director James Mraz was elated by news of the approval by the Empire State Development Board of Directors, but said Thursday his agency has more work to do before the property takeover actually happens.

The IDA wants to turn the 515-acre property into the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center on land stretching across the towns of Perth and Johnstown. The park is expected to attract new investment and create hundreds of new jobs, according to state and local officials.

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(Leader-Herald file photo) Fulton County plans to redevelop the former Tryon facility, above, into a business park.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Thursday announced the former Tryon youth detention facility property will be turned over to the IDA at no cost. The transfer is contingent upon final approval by the state attorney general's office and the state comptroller's office.

"The redevelopment of the former Tryon campus represents an outstanding opportunity to take a negative consequence - the closing of the former Tryon Boys and Girls Center and the loss of jobs - and turn it into a positive opportunity to create new jobs for the Fulton County region," Mraz said in a prepared statement.

Mraz said much more work needs to be done.

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Before the transfer is finalized, an environmental assessment is required to determine if there are "any environmental hazards on the site we should be aware of," Mraz said.

He said he anticipates no environmental problems, but if there are any, the IDA would have a decision to make.

"We have to decide whether we want to accept [the property] or have the state clean it up," he said.

After that process, Mraz said the IDA and the state would move toward a closing process, with the deed transfer for the Tryon property ultimately being filed in the county clerk's office in Johnstown.

He said this could happen in the next 30 to 60 days.

In a news release, Cuomo said redevelopment of the Tryon facility into an industrial park has widespread local support and was identified as a "regionally significant project" in the strategic plan adopted by the Mohawk Valley's Regional Economic Development Council in November 2011.

The IDA wants to market the Tryon land and 40 existing 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 project includes $2 million from a state grant and a $1.14 million county share.

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

Mraz said the site should be ready to market with shovel-ready sites by sometime in 2013.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors in July approved a $132,217 contract with C.T. Male Associates of Latham for engineering services. The IDA and Fulton County government have been working closely since the Tryon facility was closed by the state in August 2011.

Local officials welcomed the news of the property-transfer approval.

"We've been working on this for quite a few months," IDA Chairman Joseph Gillis said Thursday. "We're excited about the opportunity to turn a negative into a positive."

Also in a prepared statement, Fulton County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael F. Gendron stated, "As chairman of the Fulton County Board of Supervisors, I am excited and extremely grateful that the Empire State Development Board of Directors will be authorizing the transfer of the over 500- acre site of the former Tryon Boy and Girls Detention Center property to the Fulton County Industrial Development Agency. A lot of people worked diligently on the details of this transfer."

Officials say the Tryon site has existing municipal water and sewer infrastructure, as well as natural gas and electric utilities.

Officials say the park will create new jobs and expand the local tax base.

Ephratah Supervisor Todd Bradt, chairman of the Board of Supervisors' Economic Development and Environment Committee, said, "It's very good news. I hope it branches out a whole new type of job."

Cuomo said the Tryon Technology Park and Incubator Center is "expected to attract significant new investment and create hundreds of new jobs in the Mohawk Valley."

"I have repeatedly said that government must be more efficient, more effective and more responsible - and that promise is what sparked today's action," Cuomo said in the release. "When I visited the Tryon facility, I found an empty and deteriorating building where taxpayer dollars were going to waste, but now it has a new beginning as a place for cutting edge technology and job creation that'll boost the local economy."

The boys side of the Tryon facility had been shuttered in 2010, and by the end of August 2011, the girls side closed as part of what the state Office of Children & Family Services said was an effort to eliminate beds in the juvenile justice system.

More than 200 Tryon employees, including aides, teachers, nurses and support staff, lost their jobs, although some were eligible for other public-sector positions.

Development officials immediately targeted the site for redevelopment as a business park.

The Tryon facility was one of 11 state correctional and juvenile facilities closed last year.

The release said the state determined the transfer of the Tryon facility to the Fulton County IDA would produce the greatest economic benefit to the area.

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



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