Consider the obvious choices
Fulton County recently received three public proposals for its building at the County Airport.
The 1,200-square-foot building is located on airport property and has been traditionally used in the past as either a restaurant or bakery. The original concept saw it as a place where pilots flying into the airport could relax and grab a bite to eat.
Set off of Route 67, the actual building is not exactly a highly-visible location, so restaurants have had a difficult time attracting drive-by business. Each has pretty much ended after a relatively short period of time. One proposed restaurant actually pulled out the lease before even opening.
The county changed the commercial use for the building, opening it up to other potential businesses for the location — most recently a massage and wellness center. That was a move in the right direction, but that business also eventually backed out of the lease — a rather cheap $250 a month with a $10 sewer fee.
While we do not know the exact reason the massage and wellness center closed, we can speculate that, as with many businesses, to flourish, it needs to be in a highly visible location so it will be seen, and hopefully patronized, by passerbys. This particular building is set so far off the road, that even with signage, no one is going to drive in to “check out” the business.
That leads us to the obvious.
To succeed, whatever business or organization rents that building needs to a destination enterprise. That means it doesn’t matter where the “business” is located because people will seek it out no matter what.
While we only know what one of the three proposals is for — the Adirondack Chapter 602 of the Experimental Aircraft Association — we suggest the county seriously consider the organization this time.
The EAA has sent in a proposal in the past, but was rejected by county officials. The organization does a lot of good for community, including Young Eagles Day where children between the ages of eight and 17 get free airplane rides at the airport. They also provide several other activities that day as well and hold several events throughout the year.
In addition, the EAA runs fundraisers including one to help the Warm the Children campaign. Warm the Children pairs shoppers with families to provide needy children with winter clothing, whether that be a coat, boots, socks, or clothing.
The EAA would be a perfect fit for the building. Not only are the members interested in flying and airplanes, they are also civic- and community-minded. They are visibly active in the community and want to better the lives of area children.
While we do not want to diminish the possibility of the other two proposals, county officials should consider the viability of each proposal. Are they truly a good fit for a building that is not highly visible for drive-by traffic and are they the most obvious choice?