https://www.recordernews.com/news/local-news/128806

Winnie Blackwood/Recorder staff
Kenneth Rose, Montgomery County Business Development Center CEO, speaks during Thursday’s Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency meeting at the Old County Courthouse in Fonda.

By Winnie Blackwood

Recorder News Staff

FONDA — Progress is being made to widen Route 5S road as construction of the Dollar General distribution center in the Florida Business Park Extension moves forward

The Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency passed resolutions to move forward with the road project and infrastructure improvements on Route 5S during its meeting Thursday evening. 

With the Dollar General distribution center project and as a part of the development of the business park, New York State Department of Transport has required improvements to Route 5S to accommodate the increase of truck traffic anticipated for the distribution center, Kenneth Rose, Montgomery County Business Development Center CEO, said Friday. 

The required improvements include widening Route 5S and changes to the electrical infrastructure alongside the road as separate projects, Rose said.

“There would be road widening through that corridor into the vicinity of the Florida Park extension where that Dollar General is,” Rose said. “There would be signalization improvements through there.”

A quarter of a mile of Route 5S will be under construction, Rose said.

The DOT required the construction to ensure tricks and cars could exit the Dollar General site and accelerate without disrupting traffic. Officials have previously said there will be new turning lanes and a traffic light.

One of the resolutions passed by the IDA awarded Rifenburg Constructions, Inc. with the bid to take over on the construction of the road widening and to authorize a contract for their provided services. 

Five bids were received and opened publicly at 2:30 p.m. on June 26 with Rifenburg Constructions, Inc. as the lowest qualified bidder at $1,891,421.25, Rose said.

To offset the cost of the bid amount, the IDA received a $1.5 million grant through Empire State Development. 

The IDA is working with Rifenburg Construction, Inc. to draw up a contract and construction should begin within the next month, Rose said. 

“The project will definitely be starting this summer,” Rose said. 

According to Rose, construction is estimated to be completed at the beginning of winter. 

While a portion of Route 5S is being widened, this will have an effect on the placement of the electrical pole conductors alongside the road. 

The relocation of 20 electrical pole conductors, as well as guy-wires, anchors and other devices were also a part of the improvements required by DOT on Route 5S.

The relocation project was already completed and each pole was moved approximately two to three feet away from the road, Rose said. 

“They were too close to the road and they were going to be in the area where the road widening was going to take place in the pavement area,” Rose said.

Costs for the relocation of the poles totaled $489,869, with the IDA responsible to make the payment. 

According to Rose, Dollar General applied and received a grant for $250,000 under National Grid’s Capital Investment Incentive Program to help offset a portion of the cost. 

During Thursday’s IDA meeting, a resolution was passed authorizing the IDA to execute and deliver an electric infrastructure agreement with Dollar General for this portion of the improvements made to Route 5S. 

“Those dollars would be allocated through this agreement to the IDA to help offset some of that $489,869 cost,” Rose said. 

Construction of the distribution center broke ground in June 2017 and has been moving forward since then. Weather and a three month waiting period to receive the proper land disturbance permit from March to June 2017 led to delays, according to a letter written by Mark Payne of Dollar General Corporation to Rose. The letter was presented during Thursday’s meeting. 

“As of July 11, 2018, we have had 211 weather related days that delayed the project,” Payne’s letter said. “So, that is a total of 303 days that the project has been delayed. These delays have caused us to miss our initial projections. This includes projections on capital and employees hired for the project.” 

Because of these delays and missed projects at no fault to the company, Payne asked in the letter for an extension for their sales tax exemption. The IDA passed a resolution during Thursday’s meeting to do so. 

The original date of expiration for the exemption was June 30, 2019, and Payne’s requested date of Dec. 31, 2019 was granted by the IDA through the resolution. 

“We are targeting September/October 2019 to start shipping product, but I recognize we have another winter to go through, and do not want to ask for a second extension because of more weather delays,” Payne’s letter stated.