SARANAC LAKE - Harrietstown supervisor candidate Tom Catillaz has outlined his plan for the town's Adirondack Regional Business Park.
Located in Lake Clear, the 20-year-old park is currently home to just two tenants: Bionique Testing Laboratories and the Adirondack Arc, which provides services to people with developmental disabilities. Last year, the state Adirondack Park Agency approved a 19-lot subdivision of the park, including the creation of seven "shovel-ready" development sites.
Catillaz, a Democrat and a current village trustee, called for "an unbiased and blunt evaluation" of the park and said business decisions about its future should be made on facts "and not upon wishes." He said the park is in a remote location 10 miles away from village services and does not have water and sewer service.
(Enterprise file photo)
In the past, town officials have hoped to draw an airport-related industry to the park, given its location next to the Adirondack Regional Airport, but Catillaz thinks that's a long shot.
"First, the park is not located near the interstate system or other inter-modal transportation so there is no effective means for supply or distribution of goods other than air," Catillaz said in a press release sent by Friends of Tom Catillaz. "Second, there are scores of closed military airbases across the country, more centrally located, clamoring for air-related industry and throwing huge amounts of money to any prospect."
Catillaz said shovel-ready space isn't enough and that the town needs to have move-in-ready space at the park. He said the town should either make a modest investment in a move-in ready industrial building or look for another use for the property. That's similar to what the town and the Adirondack Econonomic Development Corporation did with the park in the late 1990s with the incubator building where the Adirondack Arc is located.
Catillaz called for spending $5,000 to $7,000 to develop plans for a 10,000-square-foot steel package building at the park.
"I'd like the town to get the plans to the North Country (Regional) Economic Development Council in time for the next round of grants from the Empire Development Corp.," Catillaz said, "as our ownership of the land give us the 20 to 25 percent required equity in the project which gives us an advantage in the process."
Catillaz also suggested the town try marketing to businesses that fit the Adirondacks, like furniture and light fixture makers.
"But if (the town) is not willing to make the small investment and try something new, then we ought to look for other uses that put the 100 acres on the tax rolls," Catillaz said.
Republican town Councilman Bob Bevilacqua, Catillaz's opponent in the Nov. 6 election, told the Enterprise last month that the town has been laying the groundwork to bring new businesses to the park, citing the new shovel-ready development sites. Bevilacqua said the business park would be "a perfect spot" for the village's Local Development Corporation to put a business incubator it wants to create.
"We're trying to come up with a strategy to market that business park," Bevilacqua said. "That's an untapped resource out there. We've got sites that are ready to go."