WADDINGTON – The town has tabled a grant application that would allow it to develop a concept plan for a sustainable power and applied research community on Whitehouse Bay.
The town is considering partnering with the Sustainable Power and Applied Research Facility, which would work on developing and commercializing sustainable power and natural resource technologies.
The proposed research complex could range from 100,000 to 150,000 square feet, with up to 50 to 100 academic, professional and support personnel to be located on the site within three years of opening.
At a price tag of $50,000, a concept plan to develop Whitehouse Bay would require a $12,000 match from the town, which would come from its New York Power Authority savings account.
The savings account, which was set up following the 2003 Relicensing Settlement Agreement, currently has a balance of $30,000.
The board received notice of the grant application with New York State Energy Research and Development Authority in June. The grant application is due within five weeks.
Board members were hesitant Monday to apply for a grant with only five weeks to prepare the application.
It always seems like we never have much success or want to change something when we have a time crunch, council member Travis S. McKnight said. They dont give you a lot of time. I just wish we had a few months to work on it instead a few weeks to make sure we get everything the way we want it.
With the concept plan in hand, the town would increase its chances of being matched for other grants from the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency and state Department of Environmental Conservation to develop SPARC.
The research center would help develop technologies that can be used and distributed throughout the north country, Town Supervisor Mark Scott said. It will require a combination of public and private partnership to help make this a reality. Its money worth spending. But without a plan in place, we cant just go to the bank to put in infrastructure. There is going to be a lot of money needed for water, sewer and roads. You have to have something in hand to show them were serious about the project.
The town has already received interest from SPARC to develop a research center in the area.
They are very interested, council member Robert J. Dalton said. We have to make it easier and more enticing to them.
But waiting to complete the grant application for another year has its benefits. The town could also use the money from the sale of surplus lands along the River Road to pay for the conceptual plan, Mr. Dalton said.
Weve discussed a few compromises along the old River Road and it might be time to start that conversation started again, Mr. Dalton said. If we sold that property, we would have some money to work with.