Varick Depot plan will be a ‘win’ says Hayssen

The future of the former Seneca Army Depot is very much in question.As the bid process winds down, Varick Town Supervisor Robert Hayssen along with the entire Varick Town Board announced a partnership with the organization Seneca White Deer. The partnership will mean that Varick will place a bid to ensure that 3,000 acres of the land at the Army Depot can be used for eco-tourism.The Army Depot has been at the center of a hot debate over the last month, regarding the future of the site, which saw a failed attempt by Seneca County Supervisor Stephen Churchill to push a resolution through that would ask the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency to hand over ownership of the site to Seneca County.While the resolution failed Seneca County was given the green light to have a proposal submitted on their behalf to the IDA. It seems though, a new shot of confidence has been inserted into the future of the Army Depot as Dennis Money, the President of Seneca White Deer called Hayssen’s move “a new beginning,” for something that he has spent more than 18 years fighting and advocating for. Hayssen said that while he remains uncertain about how this all will take shape, he is confident that Varick will come out of the bid process with the best bid for the 3,000 acres his town is seeking. “We will have a great proposal, we will have a winning proposal,” Hayssen said. He went on, “This will be a win for the people in Varick and a win for the people in Seneca County.” The eco-tourism angle is something that many have talked about leading up to this point. The actual economic benefit of an eco-tourism space has been heavily debated between both sides, but the common ground between all parties involved is that the long-term health of the white deer herd at the site.Hayssen believes the impacts will be far-reaching for Seneca County residents and that the Varick proposal will be a larger win for the county as a whole, especially for those living in the southern and central portions of the county. “It’ll be a win for tourism in Seneca County, especially in the south-end of Seneca County. This will be one more reason to visit Seneca County, whether it is getting off the Thruway or taking a break at Lago Resort & Casino,” said Hayssen.Now, Hayssen and the rest of Varick wait for the bid process to end. “After the deadline we’ll be able to say more,” he said referencing the February 29th deadline the Seneca County IDA has placed on the process. At the last meeting, the IDA pointed out that money would not be the only factor in their decision-making process. Instead, the plans that would benefit the county greatest would be the winners. The IDA did also say that the process of selecting proposals could take significant time after the bid process ends.

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