County IDA seeking funds for $900,000 Gouverneur water upgrade
Thursday, November 11, 2010 - 6:22 am

The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) is seeking funds to assist with upgrades to the Village of Gouverneur’s east side water infrastructure—upgrades that will keep businesses like Kinney Drugs from losing their fire insurance.

The approximate $900,000 project will provide a second water main that will connect to the existing infrastructure to create a loop. This will allow for adequate water volume and improved pressure to residences and businesses long suffering from poor flows.

Insufficient water supply is a real concern for Kinney Drugs. Difficulty in insuring their distribution center on East Main Street against fire has become a significant barrier to doing business from that location.

Kinney’s Vice President of Financial Planning and Treasury Services, Michael J. Burgess, states in a letter, “The water pressure has created an even greater problem with our long standing insurance carrier (32+ years) who until recently was accepting a premium for insuring a complete loss to no longer insuring the property due to this issue.”

Earlier this year the IDA engaged an engineering firm to conduct flow tests and create a scope of work necessary to resolve the issue.

Raymond H. Fountain, the IDA’s Chief Executive Officer, states, “Kinney Drugs is a long-term and valuable employer in St. Lawrence County and we are aggressively working with them to correct this situation. One of the primary areas of focus for the IDA is to continually improve St. Lawrence County as a location for doing business.”

IDA Board members R. Joseph Weekes, Jr., and County Legislator Don Peck, both of Gouverneur, agreed wholeheartedly with Mr. Fountain. Mr. Weekes stated, “We cannot stand idly by and watch this valued St. Lawrence County business struggle with this issue. It is imperative that Kinney Drugs remain viable and the IDA will do what it can to assist them.”

Legislator Don Peck concurred, adding, “The IDA is committed not only to the development of new business within the county and the North Country, but also to partnering with existing businesses to ensure that they remain here in St. Lawrence County.”

The St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency Local Development Corporation (IDA LDC) was recently awarded $200,000 toward the project from the Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC).

Congressman Bill Owens and his federal co-chairman of the NBRC, Sandy Blitz, were in town in October to tour Kinney’s facility.

Additional funds are being pursued by the IDA LDC through an application to the U.S. Economic Development Administration, Department of Commerce Economic Development Assistance Programs and other State programs.

“We have made our commitment to work with the IDA, Village and the Town of Gouverneur to get this project completed,” states Burgess. “We hope the grant funding the IDA is pursuing will be acted on favorably as we have many employees who are counting on this positive outcome.”