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Monday, December 22, 2014 at 11:28 pm

Hyde provides GCEDC board with year-end review

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC

Press release:

Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC) president and CEO Steve Hyde provided the GCEDC board of directors a report on the agency’s annual performance in 2014 at its December board meeting.  The report included a review of year-to-date capital/business investments, pledged job creation estimates, advancement of the shovel ready phase of STAMP and initiatives with local governments, among others.

Hyde reported to the board that the GCEDC exceeded its capital and business investment goal of $32 million with a total of $58.07 million invested on various projects throughout the year, including the expansion of Yancey Fancy’s in Pembroke and Liberty Pumps in Bergen.  The agency did not achieve its pledged job creation goal of 200 with the pledged creation of approximately 141 jobs from new projects in 2014.

At the same time Hyde noted, the agency was able to put together an incentive package to retain approximately 98 manufacturing jobs at U.S. Gypsum in Oakfield.  In addition, agency staff helped the new owners of P.W. Minor navigate through the state funding process which helped keep the company open retaining approximately 50 manufacturing jobs in Batavia.

"It was another good year for the agency in terms of creating new jobs as well as retaining jobs at US Gypsum and PW Minor," said Wally T. Hinchey, Chairman of the GCEDC.  “The Genesee County economy continues to be one of the strongest in the region and 2015 should be no different as STAMP continues to move forward."

Significant strides were made to bring STAMP further along in making the site shovel ready for future development, including survey work, engineering and design work for water and sewer infrastructure. Of note was the dedication of $33 million in the New York State 2014-2015 budget for STAMP.  The GCEDC staff continues its close collaboration with New York State and NY Loves Nano to market and promote the STAMP site nationally and internationally to high tech manufacturers.

Another performance goal for 2014 was to enhance initiatives and outreach with local government entities throughout Genesee County.  The GCEDC worked closely with the Town of Batavia to secure potential funding opportunities to extend existing infrastructure at the Agri-business Park.

Lastly, GCEDC conducted outreach meetings with various localities as well as collaboration with the City of Batavia, Batavia Development Corp. and the Batavia Business Improvement District to implement the re-development of the Batavia Opportunity Area (BOA).

“The performance goals set by the GCEDC are certainly challenging, but if there was not a collective belief that we have the right formula for economic success, then we would not create such aggressive targets,” said Hyde.  “We look forward to generating even more economic development success in 2015.”

Monday, December 22, 2014 at 7:03 pm

Photos: New Batavia Downs entrance is open

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Batavia Downs, business

The new entrance and lobby for Batavia Downs is nearly complete and is open now.

There is some finish-up, "trim" work to complete, said Ryan Hasenauer, marketing director for Western OTB, but otherwise, it's good to go.

Sunday, December 21, 2014 at 9:34 pm

National Grid provides another $500K grant to GCEDC's STAMP project

post by Howard B. Owens in business, GCEDC, National Grid, STAMP

Press release:

National Grid’s latest grant of $500,000 in the Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Park (STAMP) site in the Town of Alabama in Genesee County has now reached the $1.5 million threshold. Since 2007, National Grid has provided STAMP with various economic development grants to the Genesee County Economic Development Center (GCEDC), which is developing the site and marketing it to corporate site selectors as well as nanotechnology and advanced manufacturing companies throughout the United States and the world.

“We are extremely excited to have such strong support from National Gird to help us bring the next generation of advanced manufacturing to Western New York,” said Steve Hyde, president and CEO of the GCEDC. “STAMP has received significant support from business, education and economic development groups and organizations from Buffalo and Rochester, so it is truly a collaborative effort to bring this transformative economic development project to our region.”

STAMP is a 1,250-acre site and is aligned to attract the next generation of nanotechnology companies, including semiconductor chip fabs, flat panel displays, solar, bio-manufacturing, and advanced manufacturing companies to New York State. Most recently, STAMP was appropriated $33 million in the 2014-15 state budget to bring the site to a shovel-ready status. This funding will be used for pre-construction engineering, sewer and water lines and other utility hook-ups and other infrastructure enhancements.

“We have seen a number of major gains in the bringing new and advanced technologies to the region, and we’re confident that STAMP will continue the significant economic development momentum in the region in the science, technology and advanced manufacturing areas,” said Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive for National Grid in Western New York.“

“The GCEDC has an excellent track record in economic development, as evidenced most recently by the construction of the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park, which led to the construction to two major yogurt manufacturing facilities,” said Arthur W. Hamlin, director, economic development and corporate citizenship at National Grid. “We are optimistic that the same ‘build it and they will come’ approach used at the agri-business park will also reap significant economic development and job outcomes at the STAMP site.”

STAMP is located in the New York Power Authority’s (NYPA) low-cost hydropower zone. The site is within a 60-minute commute of 2.1 million residents from the Rochester and Buffalo metro regions as well as six university centers with more than 17,000 enrolled engineering students. According to GCEDC officials, STAMP has the potential to generate $30-$50 billion in investment and employ up to 10,000 workers on-site. The supply chain impact could add another 50,000 jobs.

The grants to the GCEDC are from a number of National Grid programs, including the Strategic Economic Development Program designed to increase effective marketing and sales initiatives aimed at “strategic targets.” This program provides expertise and incremental resources to leverage more and better macro-level business attraction research, marketing and sales efforts. Other grants have helped support hard infrastructure improvements to the site. Information about National Grid’s suite of economic programs is available at www.shovelready.com.

Friday, December 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm

Owners of Rancho Viejo open second restaurant in Valu Plaza

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, El Burrito Loco, Rancho Viejo

How would you like your burrito? Hot and spicy or mild and flavorful? Steak, ground beef, chicken or pork, or maybe just beans and rice? However you like your burritos, whether it's the same recipe today and tomorrow or you like to mix it up every day, Leon and Maryez Ramirez promise you this: It will be made from only the freshest ingredients. 

The couple, who also own Rancho Viejo Restaurant on Ellicott Street, decided to open their new place, El Burrito Loco, in the Valu Plaza because they thought Batavia needed a place like this.

"The reason we came out with this idea is because there's nothing like this in Batavia," Leon said. "People are always looking for different places to eat and me and my wife always had this idea."

The restaurant seats 60, but burritos and tacos always make great to-go food.

Maryez is planning on expanding the menu to include salads -- healthy salads, she says, and always fresh -- and natural fruit drinks.

The Ramirez's said Rancho Viejo is doing very well and they think the new place will complement their existing restaurant, offering another style of food and dining for residents hungry for Mexican cuisine.

"We want to invite people in," Leon said. "Me, my wife and my family, we appreciate everybody in Batavia and surrounding areas for their support at Rancho and we hope they like this one, too."

Photo: Leon, Maryez, Alicia and Elkim.

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 8:00 am

Oliver's Candies planning new neon sign with message board

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Oliver's Candies

Some might call the Oliver's Candies sign iconic, but objects only become iconic with age, and age means expensive to maintain and problem-plagued.

That's the case with this sign, according to Jeremy Liles, general manager of the family business.

The sign really needs to be replaced, Liles told members of the Genesee County Planning Board Thursday night, which reacted initially with kind of a collective gasp.

The planning board was asked to review the proposal because Oliver's is seeking a special sign permit for the replacement sign. While smaller than the old sign, it will still stand 20 feet tall and be nine feet wide.

If you grew up in this community, you grew up with this sign and all that it represents. The sign has been in place since at least the 1950s. Liles is nervous some might react negatively to replacement of the sign, but he said every effort has been made to ensure it maintains its classic character.

The logo will change, the color scheme will change, but it will still be close to the same size and shape, will still be lit with neon and bordered by white light bulbs.

The new sign will be more energy efficient and will also feature a programmable message board, which, by law, will only post a new message in each 24-hour period. The update will mean no longer assigning an employee the task of changing the message on the board by hand on a less frequent basis.

Such a change of a seemingly iconic sign in Batavia isn't anything new. In 2012, Batavia Downs took down its classic neon sign and replaced it with a sign that uses LED lights, but otherwise looks exactly like the old sign. If you didn't know better, it would be hard to tell the difference.

That's the hope of Liles with this sign change, he said. In fact, Oliver's will hire the same company as Batavia Downs to build and install the new sign.

After cutting the expense of maintenance and electricity, the next important reason for changing the sign is for Oliver's to be consistant in its branding. The current logo is the Oliver's name with a cup pouring chocolate, which is not part of the current Oliver's sign.

"Brand recognition is important," Liles told the board. "You all recognize the Nike swish when you see it and when the world sees that logo I want them to think chocolate."

The new sign will also use the brown chocolate color that is part of Oliver's branding scheme now.

The county planning board recommended approval of the new sign permit. The City's planning board must approve it next before work can begin.

Below is an artist's rendering of the proposed new sign.

Friday, December 12, 2014 at 7:45 am

County planners raise traffic safety concerns for proposed location of Dollar General in Pavilion

post by Howard B. Owens in business, land use, Pavilion, planning

Dollar General would like to build a new store in Pavilion, but the proposal got a cold reception from the Genesee County Planning Board on Thursday night.

The proposed location is less than 1,000 feet from the high school, and with heavy, speedy truck traffic on Route 63 and no sidewalks between the school and the store, board members thought the location presents a safety hazard.

Planners also thought the proposal doesn't fit within Pavilion's comprehensive plan.

However, the location is the one picked by town officials, Todd Hamula, a development manager for Zeremba Group, who is representing Dollar General in the project.

Originally, the company was looking at a location closer to the school, but town officials were worried about students leaving campus to go to the store, so a compromise was found with the location further away.

The location also gives the town a chance to appeal to the Department of Transportation to lower the speed limit along that stretch of road to 35 mph (the location is right near the current dividing line between a 35 mph zone and 55 mph zone).  

Hamula said Dollar General wants its stores on roads with speed limits less than 55 mph, which ruled out locations further south.

He also said the company picked the location because they believe it's well suited to the comprehensive plan. He said rezoning the property would merely extend the current business district area around Route 63 and Route 19.  

Planners thought it too far away from the current business area to meet that goal.

"We work really hard to make sure we don't bring a proposal for rezoning unless we have local support and that it doesn't go against the comprehensive plan," Hamula said.

While the town seems to take a dim view of a store within walking distance of the school, county planners were scratching their heads over the decision. The original proposed location would have sidewalks and a pedestrian tunnel nearby.

"If the concern here is traffic and kids walking, moving the location does not really solve that," said Board Member Lucine Kauffman. "I think it makes the danger even greater. Now they're walking further and there's no sidewalks."

She thinks regardless of the location, kids are going to walk to it for drinks and food.

"I think it's great idea to have place where kids can walk to after school to have a snack," Kauffman said.

The negative vote doesn't kill the project. The town planning board can still approve it with a vote of a majority plus one.

Hamula said he will pursue that outcome with the town planning board.

Thursday, December 11, 2014 at 11:55 pm

Genesee County promised $1.8 million in economic development money

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park

The Cuomo administration is handing out more than $1.8 million in grants to Genesee County projects, officials announced today.

The awards are part of $80.7 million in grants for the Finger Lakes Region of Empire State Development.

The largest award locally -- $1.5 million -- is going to Genesee Biogas, a Warsaw-based company looking to build a biogas generator in the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park.

Sen. Charles Schumer issued the following statement about the award:

“I was pleased to help make Ch4 Biogas’ first on-farm biodigester at the Synergy Dairy in Wyoming County a reality back in 2011, and I was pleased this year to support their application to ESD to replicate that success with the new Biogas Plant in Batavia. This cutting-edge facility is a win, win, win: it will provide renewable energy to the Ag Park, home to companies like Muller Quaker and Alpina yogurt, reduce the need to send waste to landfills, and help attract new businesses to locate to the Ag Park.” 

Previously: Company pitches idea of plant that converts food waste into energy at planning board meeting

The City of Batavia is also receiving two awards. There is $200,000 for a micro-enterprise fund. The money is to be awarded to 10 local businesses, five of which must be owned by low- to moderate-income people. The program is expected to create 10 new full-time equivalent jobs.

The city is also receiving $75,000 to draft a new comprehensive plan. 

"The plan will include public participation, an assessment of existing conditions and the development of goals and objectives based on LEED for Neighbhorhood Development," states the award announcement. "This project will promote the goals of the Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan and serve as a model for other rural cities."

The Town of Batavia will receive $30,000 for eastside sewer planning.

The Village of Alexander will receive $30,000 for wastewater infrastructure evaluation.

The Village of Bergen will receive $30,000 for collection system study.

All of the projects are meant to spur economic growth.

In 2011, the Cuomo administration established 10 regional economic development areas. The 10 areas compete with each other for funding each year.

The largest chunk of funding this year went to the Southern Tier, which is receiving $80.8 million.

Western New York, which includes Buffalo, but not Batavia, received more than $50 million.

State Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle issued the following statement:

"The $80.7 million in funding awarded today will move us closer to our goal of securing a brighter economic future for Rochester and all of the Finger Lakes Region by creating thousands of new jobs and leveraging hundreds of millions in new investments."

Monday, December 8, 2014 at 6:00 am

Flip Ads contest starts today

post by Howard B. Owens in advertisement, business, Sponsored Post, thebatavian

Reposting the announcement below as a reminder that our contest starts today.

Some of you may have already noticed -- there are a couple of sponsor's ads on the right side of the page that if you mouse over the box, it flips over to reveal a secondary message.

This is a new concept in online display advertising and locally, it's only available onThe Batavian and the Wyoming County Free Press.

To help kick off the introduction of Flip Ads we're running a contest over four days this week (four days between Monday and Friday). We will randomly pick an ad on the site and make it a Flip Ad, and the secondary message will be a secret code. The code will go up at some unannounced time during the day and stay up until we have a winner. The first person to e-mail me, [email protected], with the correct code, will win $25 cash. (In your e-mail, include your full name and address. By participating and claiming you're prize, you're agreeing that we can use your name to announce the day's winner).

Easy to win: mouse over ads and find the Flip Ad with the secret code, like an Easter Egg hunt.

Sponsors: Interested in Flip Ads? Contact Lisa Ace, [email protected], or (585) 250-4118, to sign up.

CLARIFICATION: The contest isn't just to identify which ads are Flip Ads. It's to find the one that has a secret code under it. When you flip the ad, there will be a word or numbers or phrase that you need to e-mail to me. I'm getting a lot of people sending me the names of the advertisers with Flip Ads (Reed Eye and Kreative Kitchen), but that's not how the contest works. But thanks for playing!

Saturday, December 6, 2014 at 1:50 pm

Noonan denies motion to dismiss in Frost Ridge case

post by Howard B. Owens in business, Frost Ridge Campground, Le Roy, zoning

The failure to publish a public notice prior to a September 2013 Le Roy Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on whether Frost Ridge Campground was in violation of zoning laws deprived neighbors of an opportunity to meaningfully participate in the board's decision, Judge Robert C. Noonan wrote in a ruling issued Friday.

The ruling was in response to a motion by the defendants, Greg and David Luetticke-Archbell, to have a lawsuit thrown out that challenges their ability to host live music concerts at the campground.

"The ZEO (Zoning Enforcement Officer)/ZBA's lack of compliance with the notice requirements was so grievous that no statute of limitations bars this action," Noonan wrote in the decision.

Noonan's ruling means that the lawsuits against Frost Ridge will proceed to trial.

The Luetticke-Archbells are fighting two lawsuits over live music at their natural amphitheater, and allegations that the campground was expanded in violation of zoning codes.

One lawsuit was filed by David and Marney Cleere and Scott and Betsy Collins, the other by the Town of Le Roy.

To date, the case has been a series of motions and hearings, but it appears that Noonan's ruling on this motion clears the way for trial.

Thursday, December 4, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Batavia readies for Christmas in the City

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, BID, business, Christmas in the City, downtown

City workers were busy with tasks Downtown today getting things ready for Christmas in the City tomorrow evening, including making sure the snowflakes on the light poles are ready to illuminate correctly.

Tomorrow's events:

4 to 8 p.m., Photos with Santa
97 Main St.

Lighting of Downtown Christmas Tree, 5 p.m.

Horse and Wagon Rides ($1), 5 to 9 p.m.
Tickets available at Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle, 8 Center St. Proceeds benefit the Business Improvement District.

Trolley Rides to the Wonderland of Trees at the Holland Land Office Museum, 5 to 9 p.m.
Jackson Street Parking Lot (across from Valle Jewelers)
Trolley will continue throughout the night to bring people back and forth to the museum and Jackson Street parking lot. Trolley runs approximately every 15 minutes. The Holland Land Office Museum (HLOM) will be offering free refreshments for the event as well as gift baskets and discount sales in the gift shop.

GO ART!, Frosted Panes exhibit
The Genesee Orleans Regional Arts Council (GO ART!) is pleased to announce its annual holiday show on exhibit through Dec. 19th in Batavia. This year's theme, "Frosted Panes," exhibits 43 pieces by 14 local artists on display in two GO ART Galleries -- the GO ART! Main Gallery in Seymour Place and at the Genesee County Senior Center on Bank Street.
A FREE Meet-the-Artists Reception will be held in conjunction with Batavia's Christmas in the City.

Batavia Concert Band, 6 p.m., City Centre

Holiday Parade, 6:30 p.m.
Parade will take place on Main Street starting at Liberty Street and ending at Jackson Street. More than 40 participants will entertain you with music, floats, singing, a juggler, fire trucks, and more! Santa will choose a child from his "Nice List" to ride with him in the Horse & Wagon!

The following Downtown businesses will be hosting special events as well:

Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle -- 8 Center St.; Enjoy holiday specials, drawing/prizes, coupons, and their famous chili during the Christmas in the City festivities. Tickets for the Horse & Wagon rides may purchased inside of Adam Miller Toy and Bicycle. For questions, call (585) 343-0548.

Amy's Fluffy Friends -- 238 Ellicott St.; Have your pet's photo or group photos taken by Along Photography. Only $5 for a photo shoot! Amy's will also be offering a raffle with doggie treats. For questions, call (585) 343-0052.

Charles Men's Shop -- 200 E. Main St.; Stay warm and enjoy holiday discounts and warm refreshments! For questions, call (585) 343-2086.

City Slickers -- 59 Main St.; Celebrate the season with City Slickers' awesome deal with a Buy 1 Entree, Get the 2nd at Half Price. Sit back, relax, and enjoy a local band playing for the evening. Be sure to also purchase your "Dinner & a Movie" gift certificates as stocking stuffers! For questions, call (585) 345-6788.

Edward Jones -- 7 Jackson St.; Get out of the cold for a little while and enjoy a hot drink and cookies courtesy of Edward Jones. For questions, call (585) 345-1773.

Karen's Yarn, Paper, Scissors -- 39 Jackson St.; 10% holiday discounts on scrapbook paper and yarn! After the parade, stop by Karen's to get a free balloon animal courtesy of Jason the Juggler.

Marchese Computer -- 220 Ellicott St.; With coupons and refreshments, learn more about their holiday specials including computers starting at $349.99! For questions, call (585) 343-2713.

Sweet Pea's Cupcakery Cafe -- 23 Jackson St.; Offering free samples of cookies. Perhaps you'll want to come back to purchase some for Santa for Christmas Eve? For questions, call (585) 344-5627.

T-Shirts, Etc. -- 111 Main St.; T-shirt coloring for kids! Holiday specials include a Buy One, Get One at 50% off. Also, be sure to visit their guest vendor, Butterfly Studio. For questions, call (585) 345-1993.

UMTOO -- 317 Ellicott St.; Will be open until 9 p.m. and will have Christmas refreshments, Christmas stories (traditional and historical), and Christmas songs by local singers who will engage people to join in singing. For questions, call (585) 993-2325.

Valle Jewelers -- 21 Jackson St.; Will be offering holiday specials for that evening only. For questions, call (585) 343-3372. 

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