Board votes yes to become public sponsor for grant

The Manlius Town Board is willing to become the public sponsor of a $38 million Transportation Infrastructure Generating Economic Recovery grant. If awarded, the TIGER grant (part of the federal stimulus package) would help fund an $84 million cargo container distribution center proposed for the town. The board provisionally approved its public sponsorship of the project 5-1 contingent on a detailed review of the final application prior to its submission on Sep. 15. Councilor Dave Marnell opposed the resolution; Councilor Paul Susco was not present.

Vince Raymond of VIP Structures, the project consultant, stood before the board while members addressed last-minute concerns such as the specific wording of portions of the application as well as the town's role as public sponsor. Raymond was one of several people at VIP Structures preparing the grant request, but at the time of the meeting, a copy was not available for board members to review. Raymond hoped to have a draft ready by Sept. 14, the day before the deadline.

During public comment, members of the Fremont Road Neighbors' Association questioned the board's motives and asked if the board already endorsed the project. Tetley said that agreeing to become a public sponsor and allowing the application process to move forward just means the board is not letting what could be an opportunity slip by. If the grant is awarded, the project is still not a done deal, he said.

"Everything has to go through the regular channels," Tetley added. "Whether we think it's good or not will not stop any questions that need to be answered. We're taking advantage of an opportunity -- if it is there."

About the project

Jeff and Thelma Standart, owners of a California trucking company called XRT Express Reefer Transport, are proposing a cargo container distribution center to be located on approximately 80 acres, north of the CSX tracks and east of Girden Road in the town of Manlius.

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