02.24.15

SCHUMER CALLS ON USDA TO EXPEDITE REVIEW & APPROVAL OF NEW WYOMING COUNTY BUSINESS & AGRICULTURE CENTER THAT COULD BE MAJOR ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT HUB FOR WARSAW AREA – USDA HAS YET TO SIGN OFF ON FINAL DESIGN PLANS & FED DELAY COULD THREATEN ENTIRE CONSTRUCTION TIMELINE; SCHUMER SAYS USDA SHOULD GET PROJECT UNDERWAY ASAP

Wyoming County Business and Agricultural Center is New Major Redevelopment Project That Can Be One-Stop-Shop For Region’s Growing Dairy & Farming Industry – Project Will Renovate, Transform the 32,000 Square Foot Former Brown Knitting Company Textile Mill Site in Warsaw Into Leasable Space For Gov & Non-Profit Agencies

Schumer Says Center Will Bring Agencies, Organizations Together to Share Local Resources, Promote Economic Opportunity & Development Within Dairy and Agriculture Industries, But USDA’s Delay in Signing Off on Final Design & Construction Plans Could Put Whole Effort in Jeopardy – USDA is the Only Partner of 12 to Delay Process

 

Schumer to USDA: Expedite Review & Approval Today So Project Can Begin ASAP

Today, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer urged the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to expedite its review and approval of a design and construction project that has the potential to transform Wyoming County’s farming and dairy industry. Schumer explained that Warsaw Redevelopment, a local development company, has plans to renovate and rehabilitate the former Brown Knitting Company textile mill at 36 Center Street in the Town of Warsaw. As a part of its redevelopment project, the group plans to create a one-stop-shop resource center, called the Wyoming County Business and Agricultural Center, which will support the region’s growing dairy and agriculture industries. The 32,000 square foot site, which has been vacant since the 1970s, would be transformed into leasable spaces that will house 12 government and non-profit agencies, allowing them to share in local resources and stimulate economic growth of the dairy industry. The USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), Schumer explained, is one of twelve agencies that intend to lease space at this new facility and it has provided initial feedback on layout designs. However, the recent delay in USDA review and final approval has led to a project standstill, as the construction plan for the entire site hinges on the USDA FSA’s sign-off. Therefore, Schumer said he is calling on the USDA to expedite this evaluation process so that this transformative economic development project can get underway as soon as possible.

  

“The Wyoming County Business and Agricultural Center holds the potential to be a dream come true for locals in the dairy and farming industries, but the USDA must stop delaying and sign off ASAP to make it a reality. By creating a one-stop-shop, where producers and residents throughout Wyoming County can gain access to the resources they need, this redevelopment project could be a true game-changer for the region’s economy,” said Schumer. “This project is shovel-ready, but the only thing standing in the way is final federal approval. I am calling on the USDA to expedite its final review and approval process because we cannot afford to leave a project like this in limbo while it gets tangled in bureaucratic red tape. This center is too critical for local agriculture and the regional economy to get caught up in the muck, so I will continue pushing to make sure it gets off the ground ASAP.”

  

Schumer explained that the Wyoming County Business and Agricultural Center is a major new development in the Town of Warsaw that will not only redevelop a long-vacant former textile mill in the heart of Warsaw, but also promises to create an efficient one-stop resource center to grow the region’s dairy and farming community. The center’s developer, Warsaw Redevelopment, owned by local entrepreneur James Rutowski, seeks to transform the former Brown Knitting Company textile mill at 36 Center Street in Warsaw. The building has been vacant since the 1970s and, under the plan, would be renovated and rehabilitated into new leasable spaces to house a dozen government and non-profit agencies that are presently scattered in separate locations. Schumer said bringing all of these agencies together would allow those in the dairy and agriculture industries within Wyoming County to share and leverage resources, all while providing one-stop shopping for the agriculture and dairy community. Schumer said this has the potential to stimulate significant regional economic growth through farming.

However, Schumer said, there is currently a hold-up in the process. Right now, the USDA FSA intends to lease a 4,000 square foot space at the center, but has yet to approve final design plans, which is delaying construction. Schumer said this space the FSA will lease is on the second floor near the middle of the former Mill, where much of the building’s new mechanical systems must be routed and, therefore, construction of the entire 32,000 square foot facility is at a standstill until the USDA grants its critical final approval of the site design and construction plan. Schumer explained that Warsaw Redevelopment intended to begin construction now, in early 2015, in order for all tenants to be in place by August 2015, but that progress is being held up as a result of this USDA delay. Schumer said every day of delay now threatens that timeline because construction cannot begin without USDA’s final design approval. Warsaw Redevelopment has been seeking USDA approval since December 2014, and although the USDA initially provided feedback on layouts designs, the agency has not been responsive to requests by Warsaw Redevelopment this year.

Schumer said the USDA FSA is the only agency of the 12 government agencies and non-profits set to move into this center that has yet to sign-off on final layout designs and specs. In addition to the USDA FSA, other agencies locating to the new Wyoming County Business and Agricultural Center include Wyoming County's Planning and Development Dept; Fire and Building Codes; the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency; the Wyoming County Business Center; the Business Education Council; and the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and tourism, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District, Quality Milk Production Services of Cornell University’s  College of Veterinary Medicine. The Center will enhance inter-agency efficiencies and leverage shared resources in order to stimulate expansion of the dairy industry. Schumer said this will create economic development opportunities and promote regional leadership within Wyoming County’s agriculture community.

A copy of Senator Schumer’s letter to the USDA appears below:

Dear Secretary Vilsack,

I write to request United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) attention to a matter that threatens to delay a major agricultural economic redevelopment project in Wyoming County, New York. Specifically I ask that you expedite USDA’s review and approval of the final design plans for the new USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) office that the FSA intends to lease at the new Wyoming County Business and Agricultural Center. The USDA FSA is the only agency of the twelve government agencies that will be moving to the new Center that has yet to sign-off on final layout designs and specs. The Center’s developer had intended to begin construction by now in order for all tenants to be in place by August 2015, but every day of delay now threatens that timeline because construction cannot begin without USDA’s final design approval. 

 

The Wyoming County Business and Agricultural Center is a major new development in the town of Warsaw, Wyoming County that not only redevelops a long vacant former textile mill in the heart of Warsaw, but promises to create an efficient one-stop resources center to grow the region’s dairy and farming community. The Wyoming County Board of Supervisors prioritized the creation of this new Center and supported the efforts of Warsaw Redevelopment, a development company owned by local entrepreneur James Rutowski, who recently purchased the circa 1930s former Brown Knitting Company textile mill at 36 Center Street in Warsaw that been vacant since the 1970s. Under the project plan, Warsaw Redevelopment will renovate and rehab the 32,000 sq ft former textile mill into new leasable spaces that will house a dozen government and non-profit agencies that are now scattered in separate locations. In addition to the USDA FSA, other agencies locating to this new one-stop center include Wyoming County's Planning and Development Dept; Fire and Building Codes; the Wyoming County Industrial Development Agency; the Wyoming County Business Center; the Business Education Council; and the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and tourism, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District, Quality Milk Production Services of Cornell University’s  College of Veterinary Medicine. The Center will enhance inter-agency efficiencies and synergies to stimulate expansion of the dairy industry, create economic and administrative efficiencies while leveraging resources, provide one-stop shopping for the agriculture and dairy community, promote regional leadership within Wyoming County.

 

Final design for all of the leased spaces is complete except for the USDA FSA’s approximately 4000 sq ft space. Warsaw Redevelopment has been seeking USDA FSA’s approval since December 2014, and although USDA initially provided feedback on layouts designs, the USDA has not been responsive to requests by Warsaw Redevelopment’s to approve a revised design prepared by Warsaw Redevelopment’s architect. Again, construction of the entire 32,000 sq ft structure is at a standstill until USDA grants its approval of the final design for its space since the space the FSA will lease is on the second floor near the middle of the former Mill where much of the buildings new mechanical systems must be routed. So the start of construction and the finalization of where the mechanical systems can be installed, all hinge on receiving final design approval from the USDA FSA.

 

I respectfully ask that the USDA FSA engage with Warsaw Redevelop to resolve this delay and grant approvals of the final design to keep the project timeline on track. 

 

Sincerely,

 

Charles E. Schumer

United States Senator

 

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