Michael T. Baldwin Reports
Economic Development in Allegany County often comes at a cost…and sometimes, your property. That’s the scenario playing out with the proposed relocation of Great Lakes Cheese to the Amity/Angelica area.
On the upside, the company plans to invest a significant amount of money, constructing a 480,000 square-foot facility to the tune of $505 million. Last month, the county legislature endorsed the proposed project. At the time, Legislative Chair Curt Crandall called it a “historic moment for Allegany County.” There would be 200 new jobs.
On the downside, the Allegany County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) needs to seize private property under eminent domain.
On April 24th, WIVB-TV aired a story that featured an interview with dairy farmer Charlie Bares who operates Mallards Dairy. More than half of his 400 acres is needed for the project, but he told Channel 4 he wasn’t interested in selling. Bares told the Buffalo TV station “the eminent domain process is not fair and so maybe with our fighting back we can help some poor sucker in the future.”
There have been no shortages of community comments. Some are supportive, others not so much. Steve Havey is a county legislator and also works at the Greater Allegany Chamber of Commerce. When asked his thought, he said “unfortunately, due to the nature of on-going negotiations it would be inappropriate for me to comment at this time. After the matter is resolved a comment may be possible.”
Jim Rumfelt is the Andover Police Chief and is also seeking a position on the Allegany County legislature. In a statement to us, Rumfelt said “I have requested information on the Great Lake Cheese relocation and eminent domain attempt by the IDA. I really can’t make an educated comment until I read through everything.” He agreed to provide further comment once he can review the matter further.
Craig Clark is with the IDA and is Vice President Economic Development. On Monday, he agreed to submit a comment. As soon as it is received, his thoughts will be shared with readers.