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ALABAMA – Small steps continue to be made along a road that will transform 1,400 acres of fields, forests and wetlands into research and manufacturing facilities for 21st century electronic products, Genesee County economic development officials say.

The Science Technology and Advanced Manufacturing Project, with its promise of thousands of jobs in the coming decades, is the largest project ever undertaken by the Genesee County Economic Development Center, far larger than any of its six business parks.

Additional state funding of more than $2 million is coming from Empire State Development in the form of $1.7 million in loans and $300,000 toward the purchase of property between state Routes 63 and 77 in the northwest corner of the town.

The plan has been endorsed by the Finger Lakes Economic Development Council, and fits Genesee County’s long-range Smart Growth planning for future land use.

The near goal of the center is to make the land, which is bordered by federal and state wildlife refuges and the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, “shovel ready.” This means that water, sewer, utilities and roads are in place for marketing efforts and construction on the ready-to-go sites.

The Economic Development Center hopes to have 1,200 jobs on the site within three years, with workers producing solar panels, computer chips and flat-screen computer monitors.

The Town of Alabama will get a $10.2 million incentive package to offset the abrupt change from rural to a manufacturing countryside in a town with 2,000 residents. Most of that money will go to providing a water supply system.