Natural gas, airport, grants to new businesses top county’s economic development efforts

NORWICH – The Chenango County Planning and Economic Development Committee heard a report on natural gas activities last week and gave direction on matters involving the county’s airport, Commerce Chenango and an organization offering summer employment to youths.

Chenango County Natural Gas Consultant Steven Palmatier said Norse Energy, the company that has been actively drilling in the area for the past two years, currently employs 13 people based in its offices at the Eaton Center in Norwich. Of those, 10 were residents of the region, he said. Two other companies related to the natural gas industry have recently located to Norwich from Texas and, together, employ 35 people.

“All three of these companies lease commercial space in the City of Norwich, which adds to the vibrancy of our community. It is my hope that more companies related to the industry choose to make Chenango County their home,” he said.

An ag-related business that would require large quantities of natural gas to operate is considering a move to the area, Palmatier said, and several sites are being considered as possible locations.

The county’s consultant also pointed to jobs that have been created for local contractors and to new business traffic at restaurants, hotels and retail establishments from the new residents and subcontractors to the industry.

In an effort to spur fuel sales at Lt. Warren E. Eaton Airport, the committee ageed to use interest from the airport’s trust fund to purchase a credit card reader for just under $20,000. The machine would enable pilots to fuel up around the clock and keep track of and bill separately fuel that is purchased by businesses that currently rent t-hanger space.

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