HANOVER County Executive Greg Edwards is confident that plans for a proposed outlet mall will continue forward.
In late October, a retail feasibility study was announced by Robert Odawi Porter, nation president; Richard Nephew, council chairman; and Edwards. The announcement considered the next phase of plans that would lead to a 400,000-square-foot outlet mall on a 108-acre site just off Exit 58 of the state Thruway. The parcel of land is located just off the Nation's territory.
Porter and Nephew promised, if re-elected, they would work with the council during the next two years to make the outlet mall a top priority for the Nation.
However, Barry Snyder won the six-way race for Seneca Nation President. Despite this, though, Edwards remains confident that plans for the outlet mall will continue.
"Those who have worked with President-elect Snyder over the years assure me that he sees this outlet mall as a very good economic opportunity for the nation, just like President Porter and Richard Nephew did," Edwards told the OBSERVER. "So, I look forward to working with them. Those who I've talked to assure me that he is very much interested in going forward."
Edwards said he has not yet had the chance to meet with Snyder.
However, he did receive an invitation to a swearing in ceremony for the Seneca president, which will be happening today.
"I can't go, but I was invited to go to that. I was thrilled to get that invitation," Edwards said, adding that he has prior obligations.
The people who work closely with Snyder have expressed that he views the outlet mall as a solid economic opportunity, according to Edwards. The retail feasibility study confirmed the volumes of people who travel by the proposed location each day.
"I'm confident that the new administration will see it as the economic opportunity that it is, and I look forward to working with them on that," Edwards said.
Both the Seneca Nation and Chautauqua County would benefit from the outlet mall, according to both sides. The Senecas would generate revenue from the land, while the county would receive funds from sales tax. Additionally, the project is expected to create an estimated 250 construction jobs and 750 full- and part-time jobs when fully built.
Although a date has not yet been set, Edwards said he would like to meet with Snyder within the next two weeks.