Schimminger, Rath Secure Funds for Economic Development Project in Town

December 23, 2002

The Town of Tonawanda’s two state legislators announced that they are providing a total of $375,000 in state funding to enable the town to begin transforming an area known as the “Mud Flats” into a business park.

Senator Mary Lou Rath and Assemblyman Robin Schimminger said that they have received legislative approval to transfer the state funds remaining from demolition of the Eastern States grain mill to the North Youngmann Commerce Center project. The monies will be used to help construct an entrance road and extend sewers from the current terminus of East Park Drive into the 92-acre town-owned parcel, which is located just north of the Youngmann Highway between Two Mile Creek Road and Military Road. The East Park Drive extension will connect with another entrance to be constructed from Two Mile Creek Road through the area where the recently demolished town incinerator had stood.

“This state assistance that Senator Rath and I have secured will allow the town to proceed with plans to turn the empty and remote ‘Mud Flats’ into a job-creating business park,” said Schimminger, who chairs the Assembly Committee on Economic Development, Job Creation, Commerce and Industry. “We must fight for every job that we can get, and town officials project that 1,000 jobs will be created as businesses locate in the North Youngmann Commerce Center. The lack of suitable access to the site has been a roadblock to efforts to develop the area, but now with an extension of East Park Drive and a new entrance from Two Mile Creek Road, businesses looking to expand or locate in the Buffalo Niagara region will look favorably at a location easily accessible from the Niagara Thruway and the Youngmann Highway.”

“When evaluating the economic potential for a community, all scenarios must be considered,” said Rath, who chairs the Senate Committee on Local Government. “That is why this ‘Mud Flats’ project is so critical to the continued economic development of the Town of Tonawanda. In addition to utilizing a previously untapped resource, this project can serve as a prototype for the kind of forward-thinking initiatives that will continue to spur development and produce jobs. The project is also unique in that we were able to maximize state funding that had been set aside for the grain mill demolition. I am pleased to have been able to work with Assemblyman Schimminger and Town of Tonawanda officials to bring a new business park to our community.”

The state lawmakers said that they sought to transfer the excess funding from the grain mill project when Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Ronald H. Moline and Town of Tonawanda Development Corporation Executive Director Robert L. Dimmig identified another development-related use for the monies. “Once it became clear that the grain mill demolition came in under budget, we worked to keep the remaining dollars in Tonawanda, rather than have them go back to Albany and be spent somewhere else,” explained Rath and Schimminger, who had secured a total of $1.5 million toward tearing down the grain mill. The legislators, Moline and Dimmig credited the Erie County Industrial Development Agency with first-rate management of the grain mill project, bringing a complex project in well under budget estimates.

“I am pleased with the cooperation extended by both Assemblyman Schimminger and Senator Rath allowing us to use these funds for a project that is very important to the economic opportunities our town and region can offer to developers and companies that want to take advantage of a great location along the Youngmann Highway,” said Supervisor Moline.

“We view this project as a regional asset, so we have already formed a steering committee to coordinate efforts with our partners at county, regional and state levels, and to draw on their collective expertise,” said Dimmig. “Thanks to the efforts of Senator Rath and Assemblyman Schimminger, we are in a much stronger position to compete for matching funds that we need to get this business park ready. The town has applied for pre-permitting funds through the state’s ‘Build Now New York’ program and infrastructure funds through the ‘Empire Opportunity Fund’ for the North Youngmann Commerce Center.”

“Needless to say, we are pleased that we were able to work together with town officials to help jump start this important project. Coupled with the significant incentives available to job-creating businesses through the state’s recent designation of an Empire Zone in Tonawanda, this ‘shovel-ready,’ accessible site on Canada’s doorstep should be a magnet for new investment and jobs in the town,” Schimminger and Rath concluded.