Last year saw a number of projects announced in Wyoming County. And this year, they should come to fruition.
Bringing a hotel to Wyoming County has been and continues to be a priority in the area. There is a lot of tourism in the county, but without overnight accommodations like a hotel, people from outside the county can only make day trips. That should be changing this year.
Jim Pierce of the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency was not able provide specific names, but said: “We are very anxious to have discussions with some serious developers.”
He added that “the IDA has put together probably one of the most aggressive incentive packages for assisting a hotel development in this county. More so than in any of our neighboring counties.”
For a few years now, a multi-modal rail switch has been in the works, but should finally come to be in 2017.
With this project, businesses will be able to “greatly reduce,” according to Pierce, the price of getting products in and out of the county.
“We’re excited about the opportunity because there’s not a lot of rail access here in the county,” Pierce said. “A lot of potential users have expressed an interest in using it.”
Gardner added that something like this creates an attraction for companies to not only do business in Wyoming County, but possible set up shop in the county.
The plan has taken a while to get off the ground due to surveying and scope of the project. It was originally going to have just one rail side, but when as many businesses expressed their interest, more access to the rail switch was sought.
And more business in Wyoming County could mean more jobs.
“The exciting part is the ability for job creation and perhaps other businesses locating here because we have it,” Gardner said.
Internet accessibility no longer is just a priority for rural communities in New York, but a soon-to-be reality.
With the recent announcement that Verizon passed up on $170 million to bring broadband to rural areas, these funds are available to private internet providers in a similar way to Governor Andrew Cuomo’s current broadband initiative.
Which is to say there are more opportunities to bring internet to Wyoming County.
Last year, Empire Access brought fiber optic internet to the Village of Warsaw and said at the time that it plans to expand its access to more residents this year.
There may be some other internet options available soon though.
“We have meetings with several companies who are very, very serious about doing extensive work in Wyoming County,” Bill Daly, the director of planning in Wyoming County, said. He couldn’t go on the record with specific details, but reassured that he and the county are in talks with one provider, specifically, that is interested in expanding to the community.
The 120-unit, senior living community announced last year is merely in the formality stages at this point.
And when it’s built, the entire county will benefit from it.
For starters, the $14-million price tag for the Grand View Senior Village, as it will be called, is coming entirely from private investors — residents’ taxes will not be affected by this.
On top of that, this will bring people to Wyoming County with disposable income, which can help support the local economy.
“Now you’re bringing in a population to a community, the county overall but Warsaw in particular, and the ability for existing business and maybe new businesses to support that population,” Gardner said. “People are consumers and if you bring consumers in, it’s going to help the overall economy.”
Daly added that the ground could be broken in the coming months; only paperwork is left to do.
But not just county employees are excited about this project; Daly said he gets phone calls all the time from people interested in moving in there.
“It’s a huge project for this county,” Pierce said.
Between the wind farms on the west side of the county and biodigesters on dairy farms, pursuing and investing in alterative sources of energy is a constant goal for Wyoming County.
Daly is actively pursuing a program to make WyCo a “clean energy community,” which is a new incentive from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority. Under this, a community must meet four out of 10 criteria and, when this done, the community will be eligible to apply for certain grants and can receive guidance for green-energy solutions.
The four things Wyoming County either has completed or aims to complete are: passing legislation to adopt the Unified Solar Permit; train coding officers in energy code enforcement; allow land owners to pay back the cost of energy upgrades; and install electric vehicle charging stations.
To the latter point, offering charging stations is of real interest for the county.
Gardner talked about how Warsaw is along the way for Canadians heading to New York City or New Jersey and vice versa; and with the growth of electrical vehicles, having the option to charge your car in Warsaw is very attractive.
It also allows for day trips from Rochester or Buffalo to be more attractive and viable.
The Rural Arts Initiative began last year and continues to grow into 2017.
Five grants between $5,000 and $25,000 have been approved so far with most of the grants existing in Perry and Arcade.
An art co-op began last year and Pierce said he is interested in building that up.
“The IDA is trying to help strengthen that art co-op and in fact we’re working with a business in Perry to get someone who can manage the co-op,” he said. He added that he couldn’t get into specific names, but that, “I think in a couple months, there’s going to be an ongoing, daily presence for the arts co-op.”
Not only are Wyoming County officials hoping to grow this initiative, but there is more money available as well. Daly said the county has received $49,500 in non-matching grant funds from the New York State Council on the Arts for the program.
With the money, Daly and others in the county hope to spur on economic development and tourism.
“What’s nice is we’re actually giving the money out and making awards and helping people by getting the grant dollars to them, to help them in whatever art medium they’re using,” Daly said.