Developer Plans Agribusiness Park For Jefferson CountyPosted: Updated:
Two years ago, developer Mike Lundy had plans to open a $20 million meat processing plant at the Jefferson County Corporate Park in Watertown.
However, Car Freshner officials, who have a plant in the park, were against it.
Lundy wasn't ready to give up on his idea.
"Instead of just finding a new location for the meat plant, we decided to look at the bigger picture," said Lundy.
The bigger picture is an agribusiness park.
Lundy now has a deal to buy 150 acres of land on Route 3 near the Jefferson-Lewis BOCES campus. The land would become home to agriculture-related businesses, potentially including a meat processing plant.
"Probably 50 of it we're going to put into a conservation easement and the remaining 90 to 100 acres will be developed like an industrial park would be developed but specifically targeting agricultural-related business, whether it be a meat plant or a cheese plant or food distribution or anything to do with the agricultural community," said Lundy.
Jay Matteson is the county's agricultural coordinator. He says it's hard to get agribusinesses to come north of Syracuse.
He thinks a business park dedicated to agriculture will change that.
"The fact that we have a strong agricultural industry already is just that big thing that we offer. The location for their operation has always been the part that has been a little bit of a challenge, and so we see this as that extra piece that's going to help attract agribusiness here," said Matteson.
Matteson hopes the park attracts businesses like a cheese plant, like Great Lakes Cheese.
"If we bring in that dairy manufacturing company, well they're going to need milk. So that gives our farms a more sustainable business and hopefully they are able to create more jobs throughout the community," he said.
As for what businesses could come there and when, first Lundy has to close on the property.
That's expected to happen early next year with work starting in the spring.