No opposition to Roberts Road freezer project

Following a public hearing Tuesday, the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency is ready to move forward with financial assistance for a project that will convert an eyesore into a freezer facility for a local business.

The IDA heard welcoming comments from city officials at the 11 a.m. public hearing.

“I’m very excited for this project because it will not only cleanup a major brownfield site, but will also redevelop this site and bring new jobs to the city of Dunkirk and allow Fieldbrook Foods to continue to expand. This is a project we’ve been working on for almost two years now and the good news is there’s a new developer who’s very serious about this project,” Mayor Willie Rosas said, thanking the IDA for their help on the project.

Other than city officials, no members of the public attended the hearing.

The brownfield at 320 Roberts Road, the former American Locomotive Company (ALCO) site most recently called the Edgewood Warehouse property, has been eyed for cleanup since last year. The cold storage facility was proposed for a different site last year, but the location was not well received and brought attention to the blight parcel on Roberts Road.

“The environmental impact (in this project) is fantastic. Not only are we taking down a dilapidated building, but they will be cleaning up a brownfield. That’s the beauty of getting rid of that eyesore and it will be a fabulous addition to the landscape of Dunkirk. We’re really excited about it,” Interim IDA Director Richard Dixon told the OBSERVER.

Dixon thanked the city for staying committed to driving forward this project, which is expected to create 25 plus jobs.

The IDA will be lead agent for the state Environmental Quality Review process and though there are still things to do, the IDA board will vote on the financial assistance package including exemption of sales tax on building materials and assets with a useful life of one year as well as mortgage recording tax and property taxes in the form of a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement at the Feb. 27 meeting.

“February 27 we’ll be entertaining final resolutions, but there’s still a lot that has to happen. The developer is working with the prospective tenant to get a lease signed, we’re all working on different things in the brownfield program, there’s financing, but the project is moving along very nicely. The IDA has done everything they’ve needed to do, the public hearing was one of the last steps and the environmental reviews have been done,” Dixon added.

Rosas said the project will go to the city’s zoning board this month and the planning board in March. He added he expects the announcement of a timetable for cleanup within a few months.