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ECONOMY: Area seeing major gains

Momentum continues to be seen in regard to economic development in the northern part of Chautauqua County. Within the last month, ECR announced it was investing $2 million into its plant on Middle Road, Fieldbrook Foods expansions and renovations are well underway and hopes continue to be on the rise for Petri in Silver Creek.

“We are really pleased to support the Habib family re-starting its (Petri) bakery operations and creating a significant number of new jobs in Chautauqua County,” said Mark Geise, Chautauqua County’s deputy county executive for economic development and CEO of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency. “While this project is certainly not a slam dunk, we are one step closer to making it a reality.”

These recent successes do not even include the Athenex project, which could be another 400 jobs by 2024.

Finally, there seems to be some sun shining on an area that has been desperate for good news since the closure of the Carriage House plants in Dunkirk and Fredonia that cost the region some 400 jobs in 2015. It has been a long time coming — and something the region needs to celebrate.

Of course, with the addition of jobs comes some new problems. There will likely be plenty of openings to fill.

Is our community and its residents up to the challenge? We have seen a number of manufacturers in this region face some troubles finding candidates to fill positions. We’re not sure if this is tied to the COVID-19 crisis or we just have a shortage of qualified individuals.

Once the health crisis wanes, we will likely have a better indication. For now, however, we need to celebrate what appears to be some significant wins.

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