The reward for showing up at the Columbia County IDA meeting this morning at the early hour 8:30 a.m. was getting to learn a little more about the transloading facility proposed for the old Cycletech plant adjacent to ADM on Route 23B in Greenport--a very little more. The plant was purchased in April 2009 by a group of local investors who dubbed it "Lone Star Industrial Park." At that time, it was revealed that Paul Colarusso, Scott Patzwahl, and Michael Bucci were among the investors.
In December 2011, it was announced that the project had received a $2.2 million grant--a significant part of the $3.358 that it was estimated the project would cost. At that time, Ken Flood, Commissioner of Planning and Economic Development for Columbia County, indicated that the balance--$1.158 million--would be "private investments by the owners," whom he identified only as LS Industrial, LLC.
Speaking of the transloading facility this morning at the IDA meeting, Flood described it as a "dual loading facility": it will load aggregate onto rail cars for Colarusso, and there will be a "generic loading facility for other industries that may want to use rail to transport goods." Soon after Flood made this statement, the IDA meeting went into executive session "to discuss a real estate transaction." When the IDA came out of executive session, Flood asked for approval for the appraisal of "land related to the transloading facility." He cited three quotes received for doing the appraisal--$4,900, $4,000, $4,700--and asked the IDA to approve a contract with the lowest bidder for an amount "not to exceed $10,000." That approval was granted.
Exactly what's being appraised and for what purpose is not clear. What does seem clear, however, is that the proposed transloading facility will mean a lot more trains moving through Hudson along the ADM spur, which goes through the Public Square and down behind Allen Street, and that the principal cargo of those trains will be gravel. What's more, having gravel moved through Hudson by train will do nothing to lessen the amount of gravel now being hauled through the city by trucks. The gravel traveling by train will come from Colarusso; the gravel being trucked to the dock is being mined in the Holcim quarry and hauled to the dock by O&G to be loaded onto barges bound for Connecticut.