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IDA Fashions Biggest Deal Yet

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — June 15, 2007 — The Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) made its biggest deal in history Tuesday – in front of an empty room.
Save for two representatives of the Center for Discovery, the Legislative Hearing Room at the Sullivan County Government Center in Monticello was devoid of anyone except IDA board members and officials.
But what they authorized that morning was, as IDA CEO Allan Scott put it, “the largest amount of bonding this IDA has ever done.”
In a unanimous vote with only one board member absent, the IDA board allowed the Center for Discovery to bond up to $36.2 million for a slew of projects in and around its Harris headquarters.
It’s not the first time the Center has availed itself of IDA services, but considering the nonprofit agency is saving upwards of three percent on interest rates thanks to the IDA, this agreement is likely the biggest one in the Center’s history too.
IDA Board Chair Sam Wohl is particularly proud of his agency’s legacy in regards to the Center for Discovery.
“[They’re] the largest employer in Sullivan County,” he said, pointing out that just two years ago the Center employed an already-impressive 900 people.
Once these projects are complete, he said, the Center will employ over 1,400.
Based in Harris but with other facilities in Hurleyville and Monticello, the Center for Discovery – once known as the Sullivan Diagnostic Treatment Center (SDTC) – provides educational, residential and clinical services to developmentally, physically and mentally disabled adults and children.
It has recently embarked on a $30 million initiative that includes adding new beds for medically frail young adults, expanding autism services, purchasing stables for therapeutic riding activities, completing the 21,500-square-foot Carrus Institute research and training center, renovating existing buildings, and upgrading telecommunications and computer systems.
Considering the nonprofit nature of the center and its in-house activities that employ thousands (with wages starting at $10.75/hour) but don’t require a great deal of municipal services, IDA Planning Consultant Tom Shepstone estimated that the local financial benefits realized from these projects could reach $272.5 million.

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