By Austin Wheelock
In economic development, progress and success can be measured in a variety of ways. For individual projects, we often look at the capital investment a project will make and the number of jobs that will be created or retained and the new wages that will be generated. One factor that is not often addressed is the growth of business clusters and how these industries have synergies and more value to Oswego County and the Central New York region than the sum of their parts.
Operation Oswego County works to steward the growth of these clusters for the benefit of the residents, businesses and visitors of Oswego County.
Oswego County has unique assets that appeal to a wide variety of business sectors. This includes plentiful and high-quality water, direct access to a deep water port, abundant productive agricultural land, proximity to world class outdoor recreation opportunities, an experienced workforce, and an educational system aligned with industry needs.
These assets, or strengths, become the basis for the development of promotional activities designed to attract and grow businesses that align with these assets. Our existing businesses can also be an attraction for prospective businesses. Not only do they provide proof that a business sector can succeed here but they also offer a supply chain network for materials and services, and a well-developed labor pool and talent pipeline in collaboration with our workforce development partners.
It will come as no surprise that manufacturing is a very strong cluster and a target market for Oswego County, as well as tourism and agribusiness. Continued growth in each of these sectors, as we will detail in select projects below, highlights Oswego County’s continued progress and lays a great foundation for future growth as we head into 2023.
• In 2023 Felix Schoeller North America, a German-owned manufacturer of specialty paper in the town of Richland, will begin installing a new manufacturing line for the production of silicon- coated release paper. As part of the project, the company will renovate large portions of its existing 586,000-square-foot building that has been underutilized. This new product line is anticipated to create 30 additional jobs, with a total project investment of $24 million. Current employment on their existing converting lines will remain the same. This project will strengthen the company’s commitment to the Pulaski area and has potential for further future growth as the company moves into new products supporting growing industry sectors. The expansion project is anticipated to be completed in 2024.
• Novelis, in the town of Scriba, has embarked on a major expansion project to expand capacity, modernize their facility for worker safety and to streamline their overall process. This $339 million project will retain approximately 1,119 jobs and allow the company to meet their sustainability and performance goals. The project includes the construction of two new buildings totaling approximately 26,000 square feet to allow them to increase hot mill capacity, a building expansion of approximately 47,000 square feet to increase future cold mill capacity, significant electrical and water infrastructure upgrades to meet current and future needs, site work and building renovations, product line improvements and new equipment throughout the facility. The construction and equipment installation components of the project are anticipated to be completed in 2024 and the infrastructure upgrades in 2025.
• Operation Oswego County, Inc. recently sold land at the L. Michael Treadwell Oswego County Industrial Park to Daldrop, a German-owned manufacturer of clean room systems and components. Daldrop will begin construction in 2023 to relocate its New York operations to the industrial park in Schroeppel. They plan to build a 50,000-sq-ft. manufacturing facility which will allow them to consolidate their existing engineering and design services with new manufacturing and distribution capacity to supply their products to a global client base. The total project cost is anticipated to be $6,250,000 and the project will support 10 existing jobs and create 20 new jobs. Daldrop primarily serves the pharmaceutical industry but with the recent announcement of Micron just a few miles down the road, there could be future potential to expand into supporting the semi-conductor industry.
• Six Acres Farm Brewery, winners of the 2021 Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition, will complete the construction of its 5,000-sq.-ft. tasting room and event space in 2023. This will provide them a permanent, year-round location in the town of Mexico to serve their locally sourced and brewed fruit-infused ales and other craft-brewed products developed by Jenna Behling and Denyel Busch. The $50,000 NGI prize has allowed them to more than triple their brewing capacity and move forward with plans to build the tasting room, which had a project cost of $250,000. This project will add to the growing agribusiness and craft brewing industry in Oswego County.
• The upcoming spring opening of the Splash Indoor Water Park Resort, in the city of Oswego, will be a great tourism asset for the county. The project involved the construction and equipping of a new 16,000-square-foot addition to the Clarion Hotel & Suites Riverfront. The water park will feature slides, splash pads, a pool, and a 24-person hot tub. Other amenities include an arcade, party rooms, food, and beverages. The multi-million-dollar project is expected to create dozens of several full- and part-time jobs. With other attractions like the Children’s Museum of Oswego and Breitbeck Park, the city of Oswego is establishing itself as a year-round destination for families to live, work, and play.
Across the county, key markets are growing through the expansion of existing businesses and the establishment of new companies. In the case of agribusiness, craft beverages are taking the sector in new and exciting directions. This growth strengthens Oswego County’s position in these target markets. More importantly, they provide jobs and a great quality of life for our community members.
Austin M. Wheelock, Certified economic developer (CEcD), is the executive director of Operation Oswego County, Inc. For more information, call 315-343-1545 or visit www.oswegocounty.org.