Economic developer says industrial park settlement is ’big weight lifted’

WWNY Economic developer says industrial park settlement is ’big weight lifted’

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - The settlement of a legal battle between Jefferson County and developer P.J. Simao should clear away a dark cloud that has been hanging over the county’s industrial park for 10 years.

The agreement, announced Tuesday night, ends a dispute over the park’s main entrance off Coffeen Street - part of a 2007 land swap between the county and Simao.

After the entrance was built, legal issues continued, creating uncertainty if the entrance would continue to exist.

Some would say that restricted development, asking why would a business build in the park if the main entrance was in litigation.

But with that now hashed out, the head of the group that runs the park is hopeful projects will move forward.

“We have kind of put the brakes on for the last 10 years and that’s really not helpful...in terms of development. It’s a big weight lifted off our shoulders. It was one of those things that needed to be resolved and I am so glad that it is finally done,” said Don Alexander, Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency.

Back in June, a different developer urged the county to settle the legal battle with Simao over the entrance land.

7 News obtained a letter that Mike Lundy sent to Scott Gray, the county Board of Legislators chairman. (See the letter below)

In it, Lundy says the ongoing issue with the park’s main entrance “has created a substantial disruption to my ability to develop the park and it has caused me significant financial harm.”

In the letter, Lundy says he owns 4 parcels in the park.

On Wednesday, Lundy commended the county for sitting down and ending the litigation.

“Unfortunately, the damage has been done. This litigation has cost everyone a lot of money and created many hard feelings,” he said in an email. “This deal was not handled correctly to begin with and both sides share in the blame. Throughout this entire time, the Corporate Park has remained idle because of this lawsuit. I tried to bring in three different projects into the Park, but was met with nothing but obstacles due to this litigation.”

The JCIDA had no comment to Lundy’s statement.

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