Waterpark PILOT approved

The ball is still rolling on Van Buren's growing tourist destination thanks to a Payment In Lieu Of Taxes approval.

Action Developers recently requested $5 million in funding from the Onondaga County Industrial Development Agency to continue work on the proposed water park facility and second hotel along Walters Road. To approve the funding, affected taxing jurisdictions needed to approve the PILOT.

"Basically this project isn't going to go forward unless they can defer taxes," said Van Buren Supervisor Claude Sykes. "Money that would be collected in taxes will now make this project possible."

The town of Van Buren approved the PILOT Aug. 19 and the Baldwinsville Central School District approved it Aug. 25.

"We will still receive the current level of tax revenue," Sykes said, adding that the project must be completed within 36 months of issuance of the bonds. "Jacob Wright [of Action Developers] has proven successful before in this area."

For the first 10 years of the 20-year PILOT, Action Developers will repay the $5 million in bonds using funds that would have been collected in taxes by Onondaga County, Baldwinsville Central School District and the town of Van Buren. The facility would then receive discounts on property taxes beginning with a 50-percent exemption, which would decrease over the remaining 10 years of the agreement.

"We are not taking money away from taxpayers," Sykes said. "We are not losing money or taking money out of tax payers pockets. Once developed, [the property] will certainly create spin off businesses, which will increase tax-base of the town without impacting the infrastructure of schools. This is good for the town in the long run."

The project

Action Developers raised $25 million of the estimated $30 million needed to complete the project. The group has begun creating a recreational and tourism center on the property off Winchell Road, near Interstate 690, which is currently home to the Quaker Steak & Lube restaurant, an 87-room Wingate Inn and indoor paintball park.

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