August 7, 2012 —
Finding a place to build a slaughterhouse is not such an easy thing to do because most people and businesses prefer not to live next door to one. Therefore, the location that was ultimately settled on for the proposed Southern Catskills Red Meat Processing Facility was in the Village of Liberty on Willow Lane. It is a very rugged lot located across the lane from the sewer treatment plant and next door to a defunct poultry processing facility.
It’s a five-acre site that comes with a few challenges, most specifically, much of the site must be carved out of the side of a hill. Engineer Glenn Smith, who has been working to prepare the bid documents this summer, addressed the Sullivan County Legislature on August 2 and said he estimates that the cost for the site preparation, which includes earth moving, installing water, sewer and electric, will cost about $1.3 million. But, he added, that number could change significantly depending on how the contractors respond to the bids.
He said, “There’s an awful lot of earthwork involved. There’s almost 60,000 cubic yards of dirt that has to be moved because the site is on the side of a hill, and the intent is to get rid of the soil, rock dirt, whatever, on the site at the upper part of the property, which is not part of the five-acre parcel for the red meat facility, but is property that the village owns.”
The bids were ready to go out almost immediately, and they are due to be opened in the office of the Sullivan County Industrial Development Agency (IDA) on September 4. The request for bids will go out to 15 companies, most of them located in Sullivan County.
Legislator Ira Steingart, who is also board chairman of the IDA, said he expects that, when the facility opens, it will be able to process five to seven animals per day. Legislator Cindy Geiger, who is also a dairy farmer, said she expects that, like many other processors in the region, this one will have a long waiting list once it opens.
Planning commissioner Luiz Aragon said the facility would demonstrate that there is a need for this service in the region.
However, because of the challenges presented by the site, there is very little room for the facility to expand should it prove to be successful.