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ALABAMA – A long-range plan to convert 1,300 acres of farmland into a high-tech manufacturing park would bring many changes to a town with fewer than 2,000 residents. However, the price might be right.
The Genesee County Economic Development Center is promising $8.5 million in benefits if the project – the Western New York Science and Technology Advanced Manufacturing Plant – becomes a reality.
Mark A. Masse, the development center’s senior vice president of operations, told residents and the Town Board at a recent public hearing that $5.2 million would become available for a water supply system, which is required for a large manufacturing complex. The town would be paid more than $2 million in a 5 percent commission on land sales and $800,000 for capital improvements.
High-tech makers of products such as computer chips and solar panels could generate up to 10,000 jobs, mostly for highly paid skilled workers. However, the rural atmosphere in the northwest part of the town would be changed by construction and heavy traffic.
Alabama Town Supervisor Daniel D. Mangino said the hearing was intended to get comments on zoning changes, the incentives and effects on town planning.
Mangino said that so far, reaction from residents has been neither positive nor negative.
Other studies will be necessary since the site is close to the 11,000-acre Iroquois National Wildlife Center, with extensive wetlands, and the vast Tonawanda Indian Reservation.