Sugar Grove Waiting On Busti For Business Development

SUGAR GROVE, Pa. – An economic link to Busti could play a role in where business develops in Sugar Grove.

Citing that the borough is heavily reliant on economic traffic from New York state, Councilman Gregory Wilson said that Busti is currently reviewing its town plan.

“There are two avenues from Busti into Sugar Grove,” he said, referring to Big Tree Road and Jamestown Street. “In that plan, they will obviously choose one of those two avenues that they intend to have development on. It would be nice to find out what road they are choosing.”

What that means for Sugar Grove was discussed at a recent meeting.

While Busti’s decision hasn’t been made, “their decision has an enormous impact on us,” said Wilson. “I think we want to wait and see what Busti says is going to be their main thoroughfare” before taking a closer look at specific portions of Sugar Grove that should be focal points for development.

“I don’t think that we need to do anything about it until a proposal comes,” Councilman Peter Allenson said.

“Business dictates where they want to go,” Council President Kevin McIntyre said.

According to Busti Town Supervisor Jesse Robbins, the town isn’t even close to making a decision as to which thoroughfare might begin to be developed. On top of that, the only development Robbins is aware of is a proposed sewer plant.

Asked about further development or which road it might occur on, Robbins simply replied, “That’s all news to me.”

In terms of the progress on the sewer plant, Robbins added, “We have been working on a comprehensive plan, but that’s as far as we’ve gotten so far. I hope we’re interested enough to move on at some point. We need to have the plan, it’s gaining, and that’s as far as we’ve gotten.”

When asked if there was a timeline or schedule for the plan, Robbins responded, “No timeline. I wish there was, but there’s not. We talked to them (about the sewer plant) two years ago or so, but the plan takes a long time to do. When we get that in place then we can see what kind of grant money we can get, but the citizens have to be on board.”

At last month’s meeting, council expressed a willingness to receive public comment on development in the borough after multiple development proposals received strong public backlash.

Explaining that there is a “negativity” regarding development in the borough, Dot Knapp said that “we don’t need that type of negativity. We need to expand. I want this to be a place that people want to come.”

While development brings jobs, it also brings revenue to the borough.

“Like most municipalities in this county, we are heavily reliant on payroll tax,” Wilson explained. The way to garner more payroll tax? Add employment. “We do have to have a discussion as a community about where we would want business.”

Councilmember Kevin Nicklas noted that a recently opened restaurant has already facilitated 30 jobs in the borough. “They bring a lot of people into town,” Mayor Dutch Strand noted.

Wilson acknowledged the negativity of which Knapp spoke. “If you want to transform your particular property, there are some people that look at you as anti-community,” he said, explaining that supporting rules for development is often viewed as anti-development, as well.

“I don’t think hands-off is the way to approach development,” Wilson added. “Look at our community, areas for potential growth, figure out what is needed and pursue it. Feedback from the community helps.”