Cortland County I-D-A Takes Step Toward Acquisition of Former Contento Scrap Yard
The Cortland County Industrial Development Agency has cleared the way for the agency to purchase the former Contento’s scrap yard property in Homer.
In a unanimous vote Monday the County I-D-A board voted to assign the purchase option of the 14 acre Contento site to the I-D-A, the agency also voted to dissolve a limited development corporation that was set up back in 2001 to hold the development rights for the site.
Despite spending a half million dollars in tax payer funds to clean-up the former scrap yard the I-D-A does not actually own the property, only the exclusive development rights. Ownership of the property remains with the Contento family, but the development agreement allows for the I-D-A to purchase the site for a dollar.
I-D-A Director Gary VanGorder says the move to dissolve the Contento LDC was intended to cut down on paperwork and record keeping for his agency, but also to allow the agency to establish a clear title to the property if the board decides to go in that direction.
The I-D-A purchased the development rights back in 2001, with the goal was to clean-up the former junk yard and market it for redevelopment, to date there has been little interest in the site which is bordered by Route 11 and Interstate 81.
The I-D-A spends around 10 thousand dollars a year to maintain the site including paying environmental testing firm Microbac to conduct water sampling on the site. Test wells on the parcel have shown that underground contamination has dropped to acceptable levels across most of the site.
The site is assessed at more than $133 thousand dollars; property taxes for the site are over $5500 a year.
The I-D-A could take title to the property and hold on to it until a project materializes, they could sell it, adjoining land owners have offered to buy it for less than market value, or the agency could turn it over to a municipality.
Recently the Village of Homer, Town or Cortlandville, and City of Cortland spent $10 thousand dollars to study options to spruce up the Route 11 corridor. The report suggested the property could be used for historical reenactments in connection with C-N-Y Living History Center.