Hundreds gathered at Fairview Middle School to speak out against the new proposed business park.
Tempers flared in the Fairview Middle School auditorium as a standing-room-only crowd stood in opposition of a new business park proposed by Erie County.
The first public meeting on the business park was held at Girard High School in July, and Monday night, hundreds of people returned to learn more about the project.
Some were so opposed to the idea, they were asking for petition signatures outside before the start of the meeting.
One organizer of that petition cites some of the communities key complaints about the proposition.
“We already have a business park in Fairview Township that has 13 empty spots. They keep saying the spots are filled, but they’re not, and they’re actually for sale,” said Wendy Meka, petitioner.
County Executive Brenton Davis defended the purpose of a second business park and said the property lots are too small for modern industrial needs.
Davis added the addition of the new business park would give Erie County the chance to swing above its weight class at larger partners which look to target larger zones of operation.
“Erie County has operated under the laws of scarcity for too long. The answer is always ‘not in my backyard’ and I can understand that. We’ve just got to continue to revise and refine, but ultimately, we continuously miss opportunities that could benefit the entire county every single week — great paying family-sustaining jobs. If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu,” said Davis.
But residents see no comfort in simply the chance at jobs. They want clear-cut answers towards an investment like this.
“Nothing’s been sold, nothing has been signed saying these businesses are interested,” said Wendy Meka, petitioner.
Beyond that, residents said the property along Route 20 by Pleasant Ridge Park is considered a prime property for agriculture.
Along with taking away a natural resource to the region, people are also worried the park could become an environmental hazard.
“This is our land. It’s the county’s land, and we should decide what happens to it,” Meka added.
County Executive Davis went on to say public meetings will continue as the county looks to go back to the drawing board revisions.