PODCAST: Discussing economic development in Seneca Falls

Economic development is a daunting task. But with the right people in place — it’s not impossible.

The message is a resoundingly positive one from members of the Seneca Falls Development Corporation (SFDC), which is focused on bringing businesses, jobs, and economic prosperity to the historic community.

Joell Murney-Karsten, Chair of the SFDC joined Josh Durso on the Inside the FLX podcast with newly named Director Greg Zellers.

“There’s a lot of great things happening right now, and some exciting growth coming,” Murney-Karsten explained in the moments leading up to the interview.

Zellers, who has a background in digital marketing and creative design explained that his focus was going to be on attracting and facilitating growth — instead of the “pull initiative,” which he noted is commonly executed.

He explained that it meant attracting businesses without seeking tax breaks. “[Seneca Falls] can’t do that, it has to be an ‘attraction’ effort, rather than a ‘pull initiative’.”

As for Seneca Falls in present day — there is plenty of opportunity for development. Part of Zellers mission over his first two months serving as director of the Seneca Falls Development Corporation — has involved pulling together a master list of properties available in Seneca Falls for sale.

“The SFDC was developed as an arm of Town Council, but there needs to be an entity that can help businesses and companies move through the process of coming to Seneca Falls,” Murney-Karsten explained.

“It also comes down to eliminating hurdles, or making them as small as possible,” Zellers added.

5StarMedical recently purchased the old Village Hall in Seneca Falls, which is located on State Street. Upon the Seneca Falls Police Department’s exit from that location — George Tilton, founder and CEO of the company will house corporate and manufacturing headquarters in Seneca Falls.

5StarMedical’s plans include the long-term goal in the coming years to bolster that manufacturing aspect of the business here in Seneca Falls. The plan includes adding 50 or more jobs at those facilities in Seneca Falls.

Another exciting development in Seneca Falls is the sale of the former Hospital and adjoined building near VanCleef Lake. The two buildings, which at one time housed a hospital and former-municipal structure are joined underground by a tunnel.

Longley Jones, who is in the process of purchasing the property — was interested in both buildings. That interest turned into a deal, which will allow the company to develop an array of opportunities.

Their efforts will be centered around the location of the property, which could serve as an impressive attraction for those visiting the area from outside Seneca Falls.

Both Zellers and Murney-Karsten noted that the biggest opportunity for Seneca Falls, and those businesses entering — or considering doing business here — is the prospect of grants. Zellers pointed out that many of the old, historic buildings in Seneca Falls would qualify for development grants to restore them.

“The vision isn’t about building new, giant, steel structures in Seneca Falls. It’s about taking advantage of the great things already here,” Zellers closed.

The Seneca Falls Development Corporation will be providing regular updates to the community as they move through the economic development process.

Their first mission is finalizing an update to the development plan, which was created nearly a decade ago. Zellers noted that taking advantage of resources that weren’t as prominent then, and can have a big impact today will be a major part of the mission in the coming months.

They will also be launching a new website, which will provide the community, as well as prospective businesses, access to helpful resources.

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