The controversial Great Lakes Cheese(GLC) “mega-plant” project planned for the Belvidere “crossroads” area in the Town of Amity, once characterized by one Allegany County Legislator as, “the biggest development in this county in my lifetime,” reportedly has been scuttled by the Hiram, Ohio company, according to numerous sources close to the controversial deal.
Multiple county and local officials have offered the Wellsville Sun glimpses into the events leading to the dairy deal’s recent collapse. Sometime late in the week of May 17, the GLC board of directors opted to abandon the proposed location, citing various infrastructure deficiencies at the site slated to house a proposed $500 million dollar processing facility.
The Allegany County Legislature was notified on Monday, May 24 that GLC had halted all talks related to the development. The bottom-line reason for the bad news was reportedly “a death by a thousand cuts,” according to a credible source.
The Allegany County Industrial Development Agency notified board members that GLC terminated the project because of reported concerns about a lack of proper access to utilities.
By last Friday afternoon, several county leaders who received the news echoed similar frustrated remarks to the Wellsville Sun. The project’s failure being attributed to poor infrastructure planning prompted several shocked and colorful comments from top county officials.
That the County authorized an eminent domain demand months earlier to the site landowner, Marshacres, LLC, with the reportedly unresolved utilities issues still lingering prompted even stronger off-the-record comments.
Ellicottville-based Mallards Dairy, LLC, responded to the eminent domain demand with its affiliated company (Marshacres LLC), by commencing an action on May 4, for judicial review in the Rochester appeals court, along with a host of various anti-eminent domain protest efforts.
Over the long weekend, New York State Senator George Borrello began focusing the resources of his office on salvaging the GLC relationship with Allegany County. Alternative area sites are being considered to provide GLC with additional local options, but persistent rumors abound that the Ohio cheese processor has turned its attention to a rival Batavia, New York location.
The Allegany County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors will meet with Dr. Craig Clark, ACIDA Executive Director, on Wednesday, June 2, to examine the proposed project’s failure.
Also on June 2, the Allegany Planning and Economic Development Committee meets to review a requested contract renewal with Alfred State College, and its employee, Dr. Clark, to continue his county economic development services that would otherwise expire on September 2, 2021, at a requested taxpayer cost of $110,000 annually. The renewal request, dated May 20, 2021, was submitted to Legislative Chairman Curt Crandall for Allegany County Legislature consideration and approval. A copy of the renewal request can be found here:
The Wellsville Sun will continue to report information about Senator Borrello’s efforts, local and county leader reactions, any official Allegany County announcements, as well as updates about the requested economic development contract renewal request with Dr. Clark and Alfred State College. Readers are encouraged to write us with opinions, tips, and commentary, at [email protected]
Read our previous reporting on the subject: