By HOWARD BALABAN firstname.lastname@example.org
Medina Journal-Register — ALBION — Good things happened for the Orleans County Economic Development Agency in 2012, and there are more on tap for 2013 according to EDA Chairman James Whipple.
Whipple spoke briefly to the Orleans County Legislature before its meeting Wednesday afternoon and presented an overview of the agency’s projects over the past year and the year to come.
In the past year, Whipple said the EDA stepped into the area of reusing a building for the first time in many years. One of the most prominent examples of reusing a building sits at East Center Street in Medina, which is the new location for Ace Hardware in the village.
Whipple also mentioned how the Pickle Factory underwent renovations to include medical offices, and the complete overhauling of the building that is now the Orleans Community Health Center in Albion. Another project completed in the past year was the Save-A-Lot in Holley.
The EDA also helped with grants awarded through the Orleans Local Development Corporation. Some of those grants went to East Center Street Stop and Shop in Medina and Bindings Bookstore in Albion, among a few other businesses.
Overall, just under 100 jobs were added through nearly $6 million invested in projects over the past year, according to information provided by Whipple.
Among the projects on the docket for 2013, according to Whipple, are a warehouse on McKinstry Street in Albion, a reuse project for CNCTS in Medina, a CRFS expansion in Medina, a construction job in Holley, and a possible relocation of Acme in Medina.
In all, the 2013 projects could create as many as 400 jobs in the county, which left Legislature Chairman Dave Callard impressed.
“If we gain 400 new jobs in the county that’s exciting,” he said. “I’m also heartened by the amount of money being spent by our local companies this year.”
Legislator Bill Eick expressed some concern over the possible move of Acme, but Whipple said he has spoken with its local leadership and was given assurance that all efforts would be made to keep the company local.
“The building that they are using is now 120 years old, and it’s tough to manufacture there,” Whipple noted. “I’ve spoken with Acme’s general manager, and he told me they are very committed to staying in the area because the bulk of their workforce is in Medina and is very loyal to them.”
Regarding Acme, Whipple said the EDA’s plan for the county identified seven prime sites for business additions or relocations, and the Medina Business Park would be an ideal relocation spot for Acme should it decide to go there.
Other items Whipple mentioned included a company that has purchased industrial-zoned land in Ridgeway, and also a development site on Allis Road that the EDA is “trying to get on the market” by working with the site’s current owner.
Whipple also responded to the possibility of 400 new jobs.
“You’ll find that larger corporations have a 50 percent county employment rate,” he said. “With these new jobs we want our people in the county to apply and go to work.”