Laberge Group delivered a pair of presentations exploring the deep connection between infrastructure and economic development for New York communities at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the Association of Towns (AOT). The two-part presentations explored the age-old “chicken-and-egg” question asked by elected officials, developers, and tax payers in municipalities across the State, “Does Economic Development Lead to Infrastructure Development or Vice Versa?”
In a hall that was packed to capacity, Vice President Ben Syden and Planning Services Manager Nicole Allen were joined by Supervisor Michael S. Cashman from the Town of Plattsburgh, NY to present the first part of the series, “Plan It and They Will Come.” This session examined the degree to which planning improved the ability of the Town and its partners to effectively market the redevelopment of 70+ acres of underutilized land. The Town took the initiative to:
- Commission an Engineering Analysis, prepared by Laberge Group, to examine existing infrastructure capacities and quantified augmentation needs,
- Proactively address land use and zoning revisions to ensure proper use and clarity of code for desirable businesses, and
- Undertake the environmental reviews necessary to establish a “shovel ready” site.
This vital information and preparation has allowed both the Town and prospective developers to understand exactly what infrastructure investments are needed to make the property viable for development. Prospective developers are able to use this detailed information to accurately project their up-front costs and make educated projections of their return on investment.
Mr. Syden and Ms. Allen were joined by Supervisor Theodore T. Kusnierz, Jr. of the Town of Moreau, NY to discuss another approach to leveraging the connection between infrastructure and economic development in the second presentation, “Build It and They Will Come.” This session examined the process of leveraging infrastructure development to encourage business investment along a corridor that was significantly underdeveloped. Development of this otherwise attractive corridor along route 9 at the intersection with Interstate 87 was stagnant in comparison with surrounding communities due to a lack of sewer service. This presentation detailed the process, from initial studies, through the design of the 50,000+ linear foot sewer extension, to a public referendum on the establishment of a new sewer district, and securing funding for the $16 million extension.
Even though ground has not yet been broken to lay the new sewer line, early returns on investment are already impressive. In anticipation of the sewer extension, several businesses and developers have already purchased sizable properties on which they have built or plan to build facilities. This surge in economic development from new investors and many more that are currently making inquiries will:
- Provide services to the community,
- Improve employment opportunities, and
- Expand and diversify the tax base – thus shifting the lion’s share of the tax burden from residents to the business community.
Would you like to discuss how your community can use infrastructure development or planning to spur economic development? Call Ben Syden at (518) 458-7112 or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a free conference call.