LAKEWOOD - Despite a sluggish recovery and a slew of economic challenges, a local business park has proven that substantial growth is still a possibility.
The General George Stoneman Business Park, located at 2072 Stoneman Circle in Lakewood, is home to five businesses which have not only taken advantage of the park's ideal location, but are benefiting greatly through increased expansion and a pool of skilled labor from the local area.
"It's thriving," said William Daly, administrative director and CEO of the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency. "All the businesses there have room to expand. It's a very attractive place."
The park, which was first established in 1989 in partnership with the town of Busti, covers a total of 76 acres. Today, only a quarter of an acre is left to be sold, with the rest being owned by Southern Tier Brewing Company, Classic Brass, Quality Manufacturing Systems, Allen Fire Equipment, and the newest addition, Chautauqua Hydroseeding LLC.
"It's a very positive place to be in," said Sara DeMink, vice president of Southern Tier Brewing Company. "People love the land, the trees and the openness."
DeMink also pointed to the park's access to traffic-the location is served by two major east-west arteries, Route 86 and Interstate 90-and its proximity to Jamestown as added benefits.
Moreover, it is adjacent to Cummins Engine Plant, one of the largest industrial facilities in Chautauqua County.
"We have excellent acreage left in our industrial parks," Daly said. "We're also working very closely with the Westfield Development Corporation and the town and village of Westfield to identify an area for a business park (in Westfield)."
The new business park will be yet another addition to a group of parks that have shown tremendous promise in the county, including the Jason Mason and Airport Hill Industrial Parks, both in Ellicott, and Chadwick Bay Industrial Park in Sheridan, all of which cover more than 200 acres altogether, and attract workers from all over Chautauqua County as well as Erie and Warren counties, according to Busti officials.
Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards heaped praise on the expanding industrial parks, describing the Stoneman Park as a "shining star" in the area.
"(Stoneman Park) has been a tremendous success," Edwards said. "Bill Daly and the IDA were precisely the right people (to get this done)."
Currently, a 140-acre site in Ripley and a warehouse complex in Dunkirk are being reviewed for development.