Ripley Development Site Has Long Needed A New Vision And Investment

Since the early 2000s, a parcel of land in Ripley has been one of the great hopes that has never panned out for the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency.

First, Walmart was eyeing the location for a distribution warehouse under the leadership of former County Executive Mark Thomas. In the 2010s, a large sign directed toward the New York State Thruway attempted to attract a buyer’s attention to the plot with the hope of a quick sale with no takers.

Current actions by this IDA board, however, make a bit more sense. During last month’s meeting, Mark Geise, county IDA director and chief executive officer, noted they have been discussing for several years the purchase of the large piece of land and make it “shovel-ready” by putting in the necessary infrastructure, including water and sewer. The county’s three other industrial sites are nearly full and he said he regularly gets calls from developers looking for large shovel-ready sites.

While the location near the state border could be appealing to some, there is a large price tag that will come with the effort. With acquisition — as well as infrastructure work — nearly $11.3 million will need to be invested. For that chunk of change to happen, we hope there will be serious consideration from developers once the site is complete to recoup some of that spending.

As seen by what Love’s has done with its Travel Shop off Exit 61 of Interstate 90, there is potential for a refurbishment in that area. Additionally, since that is the one of the gateways for eastbound travelers to New York, it makes sense to try and improve the look and atmosphere near the state line.


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