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Tour highlights growth options

Bethlehem leaders get a chance to check out vacant land and buildings available for development

Supervisor John Clarkson and Councilman Bill Reinhardt look over equipment in the showroom of Finke Enterprises, LLC.

Supervisor John Clarkson and Councilman Bill Reinhardt look over equipment in the showroom of Finke Enterprises, LLC. Photo by Marcy Velte.

— An Economic Development Tour was hosted by the Town of Bethlehem last week in order to showcase available properties for commercial growth in the town.

The tour was one of the first major projects undertaken by the town’s newly appointed Senior Planner and Economic Development Coordinator Elizabeth Staubach. It was hosted in conjunction with the Bethlehem Industrial Development Agency after planning for the event began in January.

“We mainly wanted to bring awareness to the commercial and industrial properties here in town,” said Planning Director Rob Leslie. “We wanted to make sure folks know there is opportunity here for development, and that we have both vacant lands and buildings available.”

Staubach said another reason for the tour was to display how the town can meet a variety of needs for business owners. Small start-ups may be more attracted to one of the available spaces within an already established building, whereas industrial developers may be looking for vacant land near the edge of town.

Supervisor John Clarkson said town officials had been thinking of doing a similar event for some time. The tour was made easier now that the town has a coordinator to focus on economic development.

“It’s all part of marketing the town’s business opportunities, of which there are many,” said Clarkson. “We have a number of locations for office, commercial and industrial growth, and the more we build that part of our tax base, the more we can provide services without unduly burdening our taxpayers.”

Leslie said some developers may be attracted to other areas because they have a high population density. He said many might know the town has space available, but this gives them the chance to actually see the space in person.

The tour began with a short reception at the Vista Technology Campus in Slingerlands. Developers, real estate agents, economic development professionals and town officials were then taken on a driving tour of the town by bus.

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