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YATES COUNTY   ADVERTISEMENT

Development agency hears about tourism group

YATES COUNTY—Members of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center (FLEDC) board of directors heard additional details of the new tourism group, Finger Lakes Visitors Association, from president David Wegman during their June 17 meeting. Wegman said the new group is solely interested in tourism in Yates County, noting the organization wants to assist any group that is focused on tourism.
Board chairman Kevin Bailey asked if the new group had tried to work with groups currently promoting tourism in the county and Wegman said, “Those groups wear many hats. They have many different members in different counties. We need a group that is driving people to my front door. By pooling our funds we will get to markets that are visually untapped, for example, Buffalo. The Finger Lakes region is large and we need to draw them into Yates County.” Wegman said one of the projects is working with the Finger Lakes Boat Museum, stating, “We will do everything to help them come here. It would be a shame to lose them.” Wegman is the owner of Esperanza Mansion and the Esperanza Rose in Branchport.
During the meeting, FLEDC executive director Steve Griffin said, “We are trying to get tourism and agriculture groups together.” He said nine people in the agriculture sector were contacted to see what needs are there for that industry and was told a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified slaughterhouse was one need. Griffin said outlets are limited without USDA certification.
Empire Zone coordinator Ryan Hallings said he had attended a meeting about grant opportunities for dark fiber. Board member Jerry Hiller said there may be funds available, “To light up rural areas. I think we need to bring a consolidated effort to Yates County. Thirty years ago sewer and water led to development. Now where you see fiber you will see growth.”
The board discussed the community development fund associated with the Empire Pipeline project.
A Finger Lakes Railway proposal to store up to 200 empty rail cars in the town of Benton for one year was discussed. The town is opposed and has asked FLEDC to step in. There is some disagreement on whether permits would be required for storage of the cars. Benton feels permits would be a requirement; however, Finger Lakes Railway disagrees, maintaining the project would be grandfathered through Interstate commerce regulations. Griffin said some of the concerns are related to vandalism and aesthetics. Board member Taylor Fitch recalled the efforts to get the Finger Lakes Railway line to Yates County and the businesses it has affected.
Griffin told the board FLEDC is out of space in their Route 54A location. He said they could use approximately 6,400 square feet, asking if the board would like to have bids. He said it could be a small incubator to start.
The board agreed to have Griffin seek cost bids.
 


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