County Rep. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, (and Otsego Now then-President Sandy Mathes) must have been prescient. A little over three years ago, they proposed 130 acres of level land on a rise to the north of I-88’s Exit 18 at Schenevus for a 250-500-job distribution center, the type used by Amazon, Dollar General, Walmart — virtually every major U.S. retailer.

Today, after months of study, Adam Frosino, an engineer from McFarland Johnson, Binghamton-based consulting engineers, told the Otsego County Board of Representatives, that 86 potential sites had been identified within two miles of Otsego County’s nine I-88 exits. They had been narrowed down to 26, then 10, then five, then two. Those two sites were ones championed by Oberacker and Mathes from the start.

The site, said Frosino, is right off I-88, where an entrance with “curb appeal” can be created by turning the T at the exit and Route 7 into a four-way crossroads. Plus, a second entrance is possible from Smokey Avenue, which runs along the site’s west side. There’s sufficient land for a 600,000 square foot building, access to utilities, and an owner, Ron and Helen Kinch, are willing to sell.

The second site was across I-88 from Schenevus off Route 41 on Tait Road. It could accommodate a 1-million-square-foot building, but it’s two miles from Exit 18, and Route 41 has a 10 percent grade, a challenge for many rigs, particularly on icy days, that would have to navigate it daily.

While looking for a site for a million-square-foot building, Frosino was asked what big retailer would be interested in a 600,000-square-foot one. “All of them,” he replied. Some distribution centers are as big as 1.5 million square feet; some as small at 300,000 square feet.

The Schenevus site is just right.

Oberacker, who is now running for New York State Senate to succeed retiring Senator Jim Seward (R-Milford), points out the #1 site is also south-facing, meaning anyone who locates there can take advantage of solar energy to allay costs.

It was also pointed out that a distribution center could spur related development — a truck stop/gas station, for instance, or a motel.

The next steps, Frosino said, are a market survey, conceptual site plans, a conceptual cost estimate and obtaining environmental. The idea is to make the site “virtually shovel-ready,” he said.

The idea, also, is that Otsego Now, the county’s economic development arm which today received a $75,000 allocation from the county reps, would buy the site and market it. Since it would be job-creating, there would likely be state grants available to help with its development.

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