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Oswego County luring business, jobs to area

Gino Geruntino
A car made with Novelis aluminum on display during the company's October commissioning ceremony.

After losing several big name manufacturing plants in recent decades, Oswego County has been aggressively trying to lure new companies in, filling vacant facilities with new tenants. The most recent announcement was made in Fulton, where a Pakistan-based poultry processor has taken over the former Birds Eye plant.

Mayor Ron Woodward says new companies help combat his city's recent struggles tied to job loss.

"We have a wonderful workforce and of course a lot of it, they lost their jobs when Nestle's and Birds Eye closed," Woodward said.

Mike Treadwell, executive director for Operation Oswego County, a non-profit economic development organization, says poultry processor K&N's Foods USA and other businesses, like Teti Bakery USA, in Volney, and the addition of two new manufacturing lines at Oswego's Novelis Aluminum, are bringing jobs to the region. Treadwell says it doesn't stop there.

"Right now on our plate there are a number of other potential expansion projects for manufacturing," Treadwell said. "And, in addition, there's a lot of other non-manufacturing projects. There's projects associated with senior housing and health care."

He also says more still has to be done to ensure Oswego County's growth.

"There has to be a justification for granting any kind of pilot agreement, sales tax abatement," Treadwell said. "And in most cases that is capital investment, job creation, the wage structure of those jobs and the other potential spin-off economic impacts associated with that project."

The county still wants to add more jobs, especially to make up for losses from the former Miller Brewing plant and Nestle. But he says in order to see sustained growth, businesses must be willing to come here first. Treadwell believes as more companies jump on board, Oswego County will continue to create jobs and provide trickle down revenue for other business sectors.

Recently, several companies have either entered the area or continued to expand, including Fulton Boiler Works in Pulaski, Novelis in Oswego, where the company recently announced its intent to build a third automotive aluminum manufacturing line, and the Port of Oswego.