Potsdam town board gives nod to LC Drives to research grant for substation in Route 56 development area
BY ADAM ATKINSON
North Country This Week
POTSDAM — The company LC Drives is asking the town to consider working with the innovative electric motor manufacturer on a future grant opportunity which could help pay for construction of a dedicated electric substation to service the town’s Route 56 development corridor.
The town board at their meeting Tuesday, June 8 gave the company the nod to start researching the funding opportunity.If paid for by the grant, an electrical substation at the site may help with marketing efforts by the town to attract businesses to the corridor, a representative of the company said.
Devon Sutton, LC Drives director of strategic operations, told the town board at their meeting that businesses and manufacturers which may relocate to the Route 56 area where the town is installing water and sewer districts, may have power needs which require a dedicated electric substation to tap into high voltage lines. “It’s a piece of critical infrastructure that allows industry to draw power from the grid,” Sutton told the board.
“But a dedicated substation can be really expensive. We are talking multiple millions of dollars,” Sutton said during the discussion. According to initial estimates presented to the board, that cost for a substation at the Route 56 corridor which could service a proposed LC Drives factory and other businesses there could be as high as $4 million. “So if a company is looking at placing a manufacturing facility for example . . . and millions of dollars are taken out of that development . . . it makes that area all that more attractive.”
“And the reason that is attractive to the town itself is future taxes and future jobs for the community,” Sutton said.
The grant proposed by LC Drives, from the State Municipal Facilities Fund, allows for certain kinds of development like fire truck purchases or economic development, and could pay for construction of a substation for the development area, she said.
But Sutton said there are questions regarding the obligations of the grant on the town’s part in terms of cost sharing and regulations. “And so that's what we would like approval on to move forward and start to explore,” she said.
She said the grant would be facilitated through the local state Assembly and Senate representatives and the next step would be to contact those offices to ensure that the town and the company fully understand all of the program details.
LC Drives would then work with the town and come together with a cohesive scope and cost of the project, verify it meets the program’s standards and then present a formal proposal to the town board, Sutton said. If that is approved the company and town would then move forward with an application, she said.