By Matt Youngfrau
ROCK HILL August 10, 2001 Sullivan County Planning and Community Development Commissioner Alan Sorensen had a vision.
He saw an industrial park that would attract corporate business to the area, that would position the county to take advantage of the budding high-tech arena.
So Sorensen took his idea to the Sullivan County Legislature. They, along with Sorensen, Financial Management Administration Commissioner Richard LaCondré, Commissioner of General Services Harvey Smith, and Deputy County Attorney Cheryl McCausland, worked to turn that dream into a reality called the Emerald Corporate Center.
The next step in that dream was taken on Tuesday, when approximately 70 people braved record heat and humidity to officially break ground on the project. Besides the Legislature and other county officials, New York State Senator John Bonacic and Congressman Maurice Hinchey were on hand to kick off the event.
"This is a great project," Hinchey stated in his remarks. "This has been a local initiative. I am happy and proud as Sullivan County will continue to move forward over the next couple of years."
"The key is the Empire Zone," Bonacic commented. "It will be an instant magnet for businesses to come here. We wrote the legislation with Sullivan County in mind."
The Corporate Center is on 57 acres in Rock Hill and is expected to be a shovel-ready office/research park. Construction has already begun on infrastructure, like an on-site water system, sewer lines and pump stations, drainage, three-phase power, and broadband fiber-optic lines.
"This is the beginning of many new and exciting projects in Sullivan County," remarked Chair of the Legislatures Planning Committee Bob Kunis. "Just sit back and watch us rebuild the county into an economic stronghold."
"I grew up here and have seen a lot of changes here," Legislator Sean Rieber said. "This is a tremendous asset to the community. It will attract new business here."
Over the last four years, the county has received state and federal grants to help pay for the $3.5 million project.
In a few months, they will turn over ownership of the project to the Emerald Corporate Park Board, who will be responsible for overseeing construction, selling the parcels, and development. The board consists of County Manager Dan Briggs (Chairman), Sorensen (President), Attorney Paula Kay (Vice-President), Sullivan County Community College President Dr. Mamie Howard Golladay (Secretary), First National Bank of Jeffersonville Executive Vice-President John Riley (Treasurer), Legislature Chair Rusty Pomeroy, Legislator Rodney Gaebel, Partnership for Economic Development Chair Gerald Skoda, and Bernie's Restaurant owner Jay Weinstein. (The center is located close to Bernies in Rock Hill.)
The Emerald Corporate Center is expected to be ready for rent in December.