BATAVIA – Although the reality of a major high-tech manufacturing campus is decades away, small steps attest to the vision that could bring thousands of skilled workers to a rural community near Batavia.
The Western New York Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Plan will cover 1,200 acres in the Town of Alabama. The plan’s author, the Genesee County Economic Development Center, has begun acquiring property and funds toward a shovel-ready site to attract high-tech firms.
Empire State Development has awarded a $500,00 grant and $1.1 million in loans for an additional 364 acres.
The Genesee Gateway Local Development Corp., the development center’s real estate arm, has secured title to 143 acres, with an option to acquire 1,000 more, at the site, which adjoins federal and state wildlife refuges.
Designs call for a park for making such high-tech products as solar panels and computer chips.
In 20 to 25 years, the plan calls for 9,300 jobs in a farming community with 2,000 residents. The site is located on Lewiston Road, near Thruway Exit 48A.
The Alabama Town Board has approved the project, with a promised $10.2 million from the development center to be used for a water system and other capital projects.
Meanwhile, the Town Board wants a one-year moratorium on commercial development, a preventive measure to protect farmland and update zoning rules.
Board members say a moratorium would help to control the development that the Science Technology Advanced Manufacturing Plan and its $200 million in facilities could attract.