More than $5 million has been earmarked to help transform 136 acres of vacant Ripley land into a shovel-ready, infrastructure-enabled site off Interstate 90.
Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced that more than $90 million was being made available to six locations. Funds will come from the Focused Attraction of Shovel-Ready Tracts New York grant program that was first announced in February 2022.
Locally, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency is set to receive $5.25 million for its Ripley project. According to a news release from Hochul, the site will “allow for infrastructure improvements, including electric, gas, water, and sewer extensions, as well as creation of an access road.
“The project, which aims to attract light manufacturing and interstate distribution and logistics companies, consists of two phases to make requisite site improvements to transform 136 acres of underused land into a shovel-ready, infrastructure enabled site directly off of an I-90 interchange.”
The project has a total price tag of $16 million.
Mark Geise, deputy county executive and CEO of the county IDA, said officials are “overjoyed” that the state recognized the need for a shovel-ready site. For Chautauqua County, that happens to be just off Interstate 90 in Ripley.
“We have been working on this initiative for several years, and it is great to see it all coming together,” Geise said Thursday. “The county and CCIDA have pledged their financial support for the project, and other sources of funding are being sought to meet the $16 million price tag. Without large, shovel-ready sites, the county is missing out on opportunities for larger development projects, which this project addresses.”
In May, the county IDA agreed to purchase 64 acres of land in Ripley at $2.892 million in the first phase of the project. The land was owned by four different property owners and is across the street from Love’s Travel Stop near I-90, behind Regal Trucking Service Company.
The land is zoned for commercial and industrial use.
At the meeting in May, Geise said officials had been discussing buying large pieces of land for several years to make it “shovel-ready” by putting in the necessary infrastructure, including water and sewer. The county’s three other industrial sites are mostly full, and he said he regularly gets calls from developers looking for large shovel-ready sites.
The second phase of the IDA’s project will involve purchasing additional properties to bring the overall total land acquired to 136 acres.
The grant program is being administered by Empire State Development.
“This funding will prepare shovel-ready sites that key industries like semiconductors and renewable energy are looking for and will create good jobs and grow local economies for generations to come,” Hochul said.