National Grid makes generous investment in North Tonawanda
In attendance were new York State Senator George Maziarz, Assemblyman Robin Shimminger, North Tonawanda Mayor Rob Ortt, Alderman Russ Rizzo, and Alderman At Large Nancy Donovan.
The $190,000 grant, which officials view as an investment, will fund the utilities and ground work needed to serve future buildings on the property at the Buffalo Bolt Business Park.
Rebuilding the Oliver Street Corridor and former site of Roblin Steel and Buffalo Bolt has been in the works for years. Secured funds, made possible by Assemblyman Robin Shimminger, in the amount of $1.2 million, allowed for economic development in North Tonawanda.
After a state funded clean up took place at the former site in 2004, those secured funds allowed for the $1.2 million project to build a 900-foot roadway, cul-de-sac, curbing, and new water and sewer lines.
The preliminary work, awarded to the lowest bidder Scott Lawn Yard, was approved in October 2009 and has since been very successful.
The recent investment, made by National Grid, will allow the project to move forward as tenants begin to break ground on moving their business to the Buffalo Bolt Business Park. Among those tenants who have purchase parcels at site or plan to do so in the future are Taylor Devices and Aqua Sol, which are two of North Tonawandas very successful business.
Aqua Sol has expanded and to plans move its headquarters from Thompson Street to Buffalo Bolt Business Park and will occupy two lots in the area.
All parties involved are pleased with the progress of the development and are looking forward to getting Buffalo Bolt Business Park up and running in order to provide jobs for the City of North Tonawanda.
“That money [National Grid Investment] was a key component in making this business park a reality,” said Ortt. “This is a great public/private partnership that will spur investment and spur jobs right here in the Oliver Business Corridor in North Tonawanda.”
Maziarz, who also helped secure funds for the project on the state level, was thankful for National Grid’s generous investment in North Tonawanda.
He reflected on a time during the 1950s when his father was employed at Buffalo Bolt. He went on to state that he would again like to see employment in that area of North Tonawanda.
“That’s what we need,” said Maziarz. “We need people living in North Tonawanda, raising their families in North Tonawanda and being employed right here in North Tonawanda.”
After Shimminger ran through a time line of how funds were secured for this project, which included funding for a state wide environmental clean up program; and compelling the assembly to include the $1.2 million for improvements at the site in the 2008-2009 state budget, he recognized National Grid for their investment and assured them it was the right place to do it.
“I am happy to see the good work we have done in the past be actualized and realized now; to see companies coming in; and to be here to celebrate this,” said Shimminger. “Shortly after that funding was announced, National Grid stepped forward and stated that when the project was ready to move forward at the Buffalo Bolt Business Park and tenants were ready to move in, they announced the site could be eligible for $190,000 in funding,” said Shimminger.
The ground breaking for this project took place Dec. 17, 2009, under the office of former North Tonawanda Mayor Larry Soos.
“The work that we have done in Albany has now been actualized in reality, with companies set to move even further onto this site. Taylor Devices is already on the site and some older structures are ready to expand as it continues to grow and stay in North Tonawanda,” said Shimminger. “There are other companies as well and that means jobs right here in the Oliver Street Corridor in the City of North Tonawanda and the Western New York region.”
Dennis Elsenbeck, regional executive for National Grid in Western New York, said a few words prior to donating the check to North Tonawanda representatives.
“We think, we plan and we invest locally,” said Elsenbeck. “We are here in collaboration with key business leaders, and key political leaders who see something on a site of this nature, that you may not see when it’s not clean.”
“It’s this vision that adds to the value that we all want in Western New York and that is to bring jobs here, to build our economy, and to do so with great partners and leaders.”
Elsenbeck added that strategic decisions need to be made and although some of those decisions come with risks, without those types of risks you don’t have the investments needed to turn something into a very positive landmark for WNY.
“The investment by National Grid and by New York State resulted in two successful companies here in North Tonawanda that are expanding and creating jobs,” said Ortt. “I am very confident the remaining three lots will not be here long, they will be sold very soon and this business park will be full.”