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NYS Exposed: Butler Correctional

June 13, 2018 06:15 AM

Chuck Palermo is the mayor of Red Creek which is one town over from the former Butler Correctional Facility.

When News10NBC spoke with him last summer, he didn't have much hope for that property.  

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"You don't see something all of a sudden closing and there's a vacuum of, oh, well gosh, that's gonna open up opportunity for so many other businesses to come in and do that -- no, no, that's not the case," Palermo stated. 

For years the Butler facility sat vacant which posed a problem for state taxpayers. Every year it cost taxpayers $358,000 to pay for maintenance, utilities and security guards. Over that time, News10NBC pushed Empire State Development, the agency in charge of the facility, multiple times about what appeared to residents as a lack of urgency. 

News10NBC Anchor Brett Davidsen: "What are the plans for it, because it sounds like there's nothing going on over there?

Howard Zemsky, president of Empire State Development: "The facility itself, it's still under consideration in terms of the best re-use for it."

On Monday, ESD finally issued a request for proposals, which opens up the sale of the facility to potential bidders.

"What we're hoping is we have enough serious interest in this that we'll get some good responses," stated Holly Leicht, Empire State Development. 

But why now?  Why did ESD wait four years and spend over a million dollars in tax-payer money maintaining the property before issuing the request for proposals? 

"We've got a couple of inquiries from people that we think would be serious contenders.  So, at this point, it's not a massive pool, but enough serious interest that we felt like it's worth testing the market and seeing what is out there," stated Leicht. 

It's at least a glimmer of hope for Wayne County residents, an area that could use the new jobs. The hope for Leicht is to find the right buyer.

"Doing a competitive RFP (request for proposal) process will allow us to more strategically dispose of a property for something that will help revitalize an area, bring jobs to an area, something that's more of an economic catalyst." 

Bids for the former prison are due by early August, and Leicht says any decision will likely come two or three months afterward.

Credits

Brett Davidsen

Copyright 2018 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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