By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO March 12, 2002 If all goes as planned, Kohls, a new Concord and a performing arts center wont be the only major projects coming to Sullivan County.
Another company looking to bring big business to the area is the Columbia Development Corporation, which owns the Ames Plaza in Monticello. With Ames having closed its doors permanently last week, Columbia is looking to add a Home Depot and Applebees to that location.
The plan is to demolish the Ames store. The gift shop that is there would relocate to another store in that plaza, joining a Subway sandwich shop.
Columbia would then build a large Home Depot store next to ShopRite. To do this, they would have to purchase two acres of land that the Town of Thompson owns behind the store. According to Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini, that deal could be made soon.
Columbia would also add two other businesses in the parking lot. They have proposed to put in an Applebee's Neighborhood Bar and Grill and an Auto Zone parts dealer. According to Cellini, the corporation feels these businesses could be open by the end of the year.
Those three businesses are not the only new projects that will be in the area along Route 42. Construction will soon begin on the new Burger King across from McDonalds, and another development company has bought property behind McDonalds for an unspecified project. Also, New Jersey-based Garden Homes just bought 17 acres near Concord Road and plans to build townhouses there. Of course, there is also the Concord and the casino at Kutsher's.
Naturally, concerns have been raised as to whether Route 42 could handle the increased traffic. With that in mind, Cellini met with representatives of Park Place Entertainment, the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe, Concord Associates, Columbia, and the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) on Friday.
DOT does plan to improve the road in 2006. All the businesses agreed to work together to pay for the needed improvements, so according to Cellini, the project will not cost the taxpayers anything. All the costs will be covered by the incoming corporations.
All involved will have consultants draw up a plan for the improvements. Once that is done, it will be reviewed and a course of action will be decided.