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Fort Edward Local Property Development Corporation

From left, Fort Edward Town Attorney Don Boyajian and members of the Fort Edward Local Property Development Corp., Neal Orsini, Darran 'Bush' Thompson, John Guglielmo and Zachary Middleton, meet Monday night at the Rogers Island Visitors Center in Fort Edward. 

FORT EDWARD — The Fort Edward Local Property Development Corp., the group that owns approximately 80 acres of the industrial complex that was the former General Electric Co. dewatering site, is still working to get natural gas and sewer lines to the area.

The LPDC discussed local and federal opportunities that may help it do that at its second public meeting Monday night at the Rogers Island Visitors Center.

The LPDC also passed housekeeping resolutions and updated the public on efforts to market the property.

Besides Orsini, members John Guglielmo, Darran “Bush” Thompson and Zachary Middleton were present. Bill Pels, who was voted on as a member of the board in April but was not present at that meeting, resigned from the board due to family issues, Orsini said.

The board unanimously accepted Pels’ resignation. They are still in search of a fifth board member.

The board created and voted on two committees, one for auditing and one for governance, to bring the group in line with the state Public Authorities Accountability Act. Guglielmo, Thompson and Middleton are the committee members on both.

Middleton was also appointed as records access officer.

Orsini then gave an update on efforts to market the property. Orsini, Middleton and Middleton’s father and town supervisor, Terry Middleton, have been giving tours to interested businesses.

Orsini said representatives from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Small Business Administration and the Adirondack Regional Chamber of Commerce toured the site.

The site is in an “opportunity zone,” a federal term for an economically distressed community. Terry Middleton and Orsini said being in an opportunity zone is beneficial. It opens up funding opportunities.

Travis Whitehead, a member of the Warren Washington IDA and candidate for Queensbury town supervisor, was in the audience. He added that the opportunity zone designation would allow some things that the IDA would normally not allow.

The USDA suggested the LPDC look into foreign trade zone opportunities, too, Orsini said.

One of the latest businesses to tour the site, Orsini added, was an operation that bails corrugated cardboard.

Frank Burkhardt, a village resident, asked Orsini about whether the property taxes owed to Washington County had been paid. Orsini said not yet.

Orsini said “it hasn’t been a concern yet” because there is “legal recourse the county can take.”

Zachary Middleton added that there is no management agreement at this time. He was referencing the management agreement the LPDC voted to enter into in April with Fort Edward Development, a private company made up of the former owners of the property.

The agreement has not yet been signed, and The Post-Star is awaiting a response from the board to its freedom of information appeal for the document. Boyajian told a Post-Star reporter that a response was in the mail.

Boyajian said there is an interim agreement to cover insurance costs and taxes with the former owners.

The Post-Star has not yet received a copy of that agreement, either, as of Tuesday afternoon.

Whitehead said he hoped the LPDC could bring jobs to the community. Orsini said he hoped so, too.

“I see the potential of this place,” Orsini added. “Our only problem is we need sewer and natural gas.”

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Reporter Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (518) 742-3238 or gcraig@poststar.com. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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