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At long last, groundbreaking set for Vista

Tech park plans met approval four years ago, work to start Monday

— Four years after the stamp of approval was placed on the Vista Tech Park plans, ground will be broken on the massive development in just a few days’ time.

The first steps of construction on Vista Boulevard, the ¾-mile road leading into the tech park, will be taken Monday, Oct. 3. This should quickly lead to work on the first round of buildings, which will be mostly retail and office uses.

“It has been a long time coming and not without its share of setbacks, but the vision of a Vista Technology Campus is finally a reality. The hard work and cooperation from the Town of Bethlehem and countless others has been remarkable. Vista is the vision championed by the late John Treffiletti and Don Led Duke,” said William Jones, the principal landowner of the land Vista will be located on, in a statement.

Like many development, a poor economy was a big factor in slowing down Vista. Earlier this year, stakeholders reached out to the Bethlehem Industrial Development Agency and over the course of several months crafted a financing plan that will allow the building of Vista Boulevard.

On Wednesday, Sept. 28, the IDA met to discuss those bonds again. The final details are still being worked out, but a decision was made to proceed with construction, with Columbia Development backing the initial phase. The bonds should be issued sometime in October, Bethlehem Supervisor Sam Messina said, and they’re likely to total in the neighborhood of $7 million.

Messina called Vista “the most significant economic development project in the history of Bethlehem.”

“Many people and organizations including the Albany County Executive Michael Breslin and Legislative Chairman Dan McCoy, the developer, the Town, the Bethlehem IDA, landowners and others worked together as true partners over the last year on Vista. Now, Bethlehem is poised to see the construction of the road and the buildings – and the revenue generating tax benefits and new employment that will result,” he said.

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RichardReevesEllington 3 years, 1 month ago

This project has been termed to be a technology park but there is no mention of technology in the first round of building. The only "likely" tenant is a grocery. Commercial office space is listed as important, as retail space. When I hear that developers are "guarded" about who might take space, I suspect the list of people signed up might be sparse.

I have several questions concerning the project and cannot find answers to them. For example: exactly how much of the cost is being underwritten by Bethlehem? What are Bethlehem responsibilities to the maintenance of the site? What are the tax revenue flows from the project to the Town? There is mention of employment but are the construction crews local or from elsewhere? If elsewhere, how does that benefit local Bethlehem merchants? Retail space creates jobs, but jobs that are usually part time, minimum wage, and none to limited benefits. Are these the the types of jobs Bethlehem needs or wants.

I believe it is time to refocus efforts to activities that help existing small business people in our community. An example to have an online index of businesses owned and operated by Bethlehem residents. This list is now a partial one owned and for a charge through the Chamber of Commerce. Also, the Town should look to local businesses as a first choice for services. These are existing businesses trying to make a living and that already contribute to the Town's tax base, employment, and community service. They deserve to be the center of the Town's development efforts.

For more on my Candidacy for Bethlehem Town supervisor, go to www.bethlehemsupervisor.com.

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RichardReevesEllington 3 years, 1 month ago

Today's Times Union has made the case for shifting development priorities under an article entitled "Think local when planning." Good advice. It is time for ;the citizens of Bethlehem to be empowered to decide what kind of community development they want and for the political establishment to respond.

My position is that monies spent on site development, tax incentives, and other supports that promote non resident companies to perhaps come to Bethlehem, attention would be better focused on our existing, local businesses, including farms. Look at small successes of the Delmar Farmer's Market. I am certain there are other opportunities.

If elected to the supervisor's position, I would lead the 20/20 committee toward this end rather than continuing with their past recommendations of industrial parks and box stores. For more see my web site www.bethlehemsupervisor.com or my personal site www.rreevesellington.com If you have a quesiton call me at 518 817 2641.

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