Legislature secures grants for red meat, food hub
Story by Dan Hust
MONTICELLO July 12, 2013 Looks like the county may finally break ground next month on the long-awaited red meat processing facility in Liberty.
At Tuesday’s Community and Economic Development Committee meeting, Legislator Ira Steingart announced that two U.S. Dept. of Agriculture grants had just been received by the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA).
One is a near-$90,000 grant to move ahead with the county’s food hub concept.
The other is a $50,000 grant that was the last piece needed to begin construction of a 5,000-square-foot slaughterhouse at the end of Willow Lane in Liberty.
That money had already been secured by the now-defunct Agriculture Local Development Corporation (LDC) which initially started the red meat plant project a decade ago.
The county had to reapply for that grant when the federal government balked at transferring it from the Ag LDC to the IDA, which succeeded the LDC.
Last week, the county learned the IDA's application was successful.
“I believe in the next month we’ll have a ribboncutting for breaking ground there,” Steingart predicted.
As the facility is being built, the IDA will also have to secure an operator to serve the farmers who will bring their meat for processing into marketable sizes.
Movie shoot coming
First it was the county-owned Apollo Plaza that served as a filming site.
Now it’s the Sullivan County Government Center itself.
County Attorney Sam Yasgur told legislators on Tuesday that a film company wants to use the Government Center’s legislative chambers as the site of a town hall meeting for an upcoming movie.
Location scout Stephen Harris of Hudson Valley Production added that the county’s transfer station in Barryville was also desired.
Harris, in fact, has spent the past few days knocking on doors around the county, looking for houses that could serve as homes for the main characters, a group of teens who are finding their way in life.
The film is being developed by an unidentified Liberty resident. Harris referred media questions to the company, which did not immediately respond.
“It’s called ‘Hits’,” Harris told legislators, referring both to the Internet term and the fact that two of the teens want to become music stars.
He termed it “a pretty uplifting kind of story,” a comedy that he expects to garner a PG rating if and when released.
The film also focuses on one of the teens’ parents, said Harris a father who works at a trash facility and ends up taking a courageous stand at the climactic town hall meeting.
With legislators’ approval later this month, the county will charge the film company $1,000 for access to facilities.
In the meantime, Harris indicated an invitation will go out to locals.
“We undoubtedly will be looking for extras,” he confirmed.