JOHNSTOWN, N.Y. -- A push to turn the former Tryon facility in Johnstown into a tech park. State Senator Chuck Schumer joined local officials Thursday to discuss the possibility.
"It had I believe over 300 jobs at one point, so that was a big blow when the state over the last few years has evolved and closed it down. Almost anyone in Fulton County you talk to knows someone or has a family member who was a Tryon employee,” explained John Stead, Fulton County Administrative Officer.
The dorms of the former juvenile detention center have long been vacant, but the Tryon facility is shovel ready for new businesses.
"If they want to come, they can start up in months. Companies ache for that,” said New York Senator Charles Schumer.
"Another 500, or 1000 jobs, decent paying jobs, would mean so much to the community, not just Fulton County but Montgomery County,” added Stead.
After the state transferred ownership of the campus to Fulton County in 2011, the county's IDA applied for a $120,000 federal grant.
"One of the things that many counties are concerned about is young folks moving out,” said Dustin Swanger, President of Fulton Montgomery Community College.
That's why the county plans to use the grant to build an incubator at Tryon where small businesses can grow and relocate to other sites on the campus, as well as a job training center for Fulton Montgomery Community College students.
"We don't have room on campus for it. This is an ideal place to have those classes and have those programs and it brings some activity really quickly to this area,” said Swanger.
"The minute they get out of FMCC, they'd have a good paying job in demand,” Schumer added.
Senator Schumer and county officials said they believe Tryon is the key to economic success for the area.
"Room for new companies who potentially will one day take over some of the shovel ready sites, room for young people who will one day work at one of these new companies,” Schumer explained.
"Rebuilding is a challenge, but we're on our way to do that,” Stead said.