Officials in Montgomery County are wondering what to do about a former factory that was once the cornerstone of a community.
The former Beech-Nut baby food factory in Canajoharie is perhaps one of the Mohawk Valley’s most recognizable structures.
The now partially-demolished manufacturing plant that stands beside the New York State Thruway along the Mohawk River once employed more than 300 workers. But for the past four years it has sat vacant, after Beech-Nut moved to a facility in the nearby town of Florida.
Village of Canajoharie Mayor Francis Avery said when Beech-Nut left, it not only took away workers but also a sizeable chunk of the village’s tax revenue.
“We had just built a new water plant for the Beech-Nut, which we’re still paying off. And we were not able to get any state aid.”
Avery said Beech-Nut paid 75 percent of the village water tax.
“Then, in-turn, that took 75 percent of the sewer plant income.”
The property has changed hands multiple times and owes a massive tax bill. The Daily Gazette reports that the past two owners have not paid local taxes over three years, resulting in an outstanding $573,000 bill.
WAMC left a telephone message for owner TD Development Inc’s Jeff Wendel Thursday morning. Former owner, Todd Clifford, held the property under the name TD Development LLC.
Reached by telephone Thursday afternoon, Clifford said the $502,000 annual tax bill exceeded the value of the property.
According to the newspaper, Montgomery County is exploring foreclosure on the Beech-Nut site.
The county is now beginning an environmental review of the property as it looks towards its next steps. It would then be up to the county legislature to determine the building’s fate.
The Beech-Nut property is bisected by the Canajoharie Creek. The four-story manufacturing facility sits on a flood plain. Mayor Avery.
“And since it’s on the floodplain, it’s pretty hard to build anything there. For that area, I would like to see a marina expanded, a parking lot, and a flower garden --- a park to compliment the Canajoharie library.”
Avery said he would like to see the remaining warehouses situated above the flood plain demolished and that the infrastructure would remain in place to support a new project.