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Legislature meeting today in Belmont dominated by economic development

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Allegany County’s plan for developing the “Crossroads” area starts to take shape

See maps of the preliminary plan

By Andrew Harris, maps courtesy of Allegany County

The full board of legislators held court this morning and received an update on the county’s economic development plans. Newly appointed Director Tim Boyde, addressed the board to discuss the ongoing plans for the Crossroads area, the county contract with Alfred State College, the interview process for a permanent director of Economic Development, and the process of hiring a consultant to craft a new strategic plan.

Crossroads project update

Boyde presented where the county stands in the planning process for developing the properties near the I-86 interchange. Allegany County has earmarked millions of dollars to begin preparing sites for major development.

Boyde

Boyde outlined a vision of building a hotel and two new restaurants in the location.

As Boyde began the discussion, he pointed out that the process will be intregal in making the project successful. He instructed the board that they will have to decide on committees, subcommittees, and the role of multiple departments within the county government. Boyde also emphasized that the project can’t succeed without a focus on cooperation:

“It is a joint effort, it is not one any of us can take on independently. We have to work in concert with each other, it is not a competition.”

Boyde started by showing a concept map and outlined the projects current status. The water and sewer lines and a proposed water tank seem to be the first steps moving forward. The water tank would be installed with the water and sewer lines to act as a resource for construction phase and to fill future demand.

The county now has several bids from contractors to review and decide who to hire for the work.

Boyde was happy to announce that they have “stakes in the ground,” and the public should start seeing some real progress in 2023.

Chairwoman of the Planning and Economic Development, Deb Root, asked Boyde about the restaurant potentials. Root questioned if the plan had always been for two restaurants and if that could be supported by the population. Boyde replied that the plan was for one sit-down, and one fast-food restaurant. The sit-down would be located near the hotel and the fast food located for easy access to I-86 and Rt. 19 travelers.

Root cheered on the progress and the teamwork behind the project that is emerging.

“There is forward motion,” Root celebrated.

Allegany County / Alfred State College Contract

The current contract between the county and ASC expires on February 28th. Boyde told the board that a decision about the future relationship with the college should be made by January 29th. His opinion on the subject was clear:

“We’ve done very well through this contractual relationship(with Alfred State.)”

Boyde spoke about the contract relative to the current resources of Allegany County. Boyde noted that Alfred State College offers networking opportunities that are valuable and would be important in supporting any economic development process. Boyde left legislators with the opinion that Alfred will be a powerful resource for the next Director of Economic Development considering the size and scope of the SUNY network.

Strategic Plan

The county will be sending out requests for proposal to consulting firms this week. Boyde anticipated that the county will be able to make that decision and begin working on that 5 year project in early 2023.

Hiring the next Economic Development Director

Boyde is a interim director, stepping into the role while the office transitions and searches for a permanent director. He spoke to the process of hiring that new director. The county has recieved 14 resumes and narrowed that field down to 5 potential, “very very good candidates,” according to Boyde.

Because several candidates are from out of state, Boyde proposes a ZOOM meeting to first narrow the field to two potentials.

He asked the board to decide on the process and policy for hiring this new department head. The county must decide if they will pay all expenses for the candidates to come to Belmont for final interviews. The county must also decide who will do the interviews and be privy to the resumes submitted. Boyd cautioned that the privacy of the applicants lends itself to a process with a certain level of confidentiality.

Boyde would like to begin that initial interview process by the end of 2022 and make the hire early in 2023.

The board discussed the funds needed to “wine and dine” candidates and Treasurer Terri Ross noted that they funds are available in the 2023 budget. Legislator Rumfelt made a motion to approve that expenditure and Legislator Fanton supported the measure.

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