County BDC/IDA looks to donate land to village; dog park being considered

The Cortland County Business Development Corporation/Industrial Development Agency is looking to donate land to the Village of Homer, and village officials could turn it into a dog park.

Mike McMahon, chair of the BDC/IDA board, told the village board of trustees on Tuesday that the organization wants to donate the land to the area.

The 14-acre property is located across the Tioughnioga River (west branch) from the old circus house on South Main Street. The BDC/IDA has owned the property for over 20 years, McMahon said. The property used to be the former site and junkyard of Contento’s.

The Cortland County Business Development Corporation/Industrial Development Agency is looking to donate 14 acres of land to the village of Homer. Pending finalized approval from both parties, village officials will consider turning the property into a dog park. (Photo via Google Maps).

McMahon, the chair of the BDC/IDA board for 15 years and a member for 21 years, said the BDC/IDA purchased the property through a $600,000 grant. The BDC/IDA also used the grant funding to remove all of the junked cars and buildings on the property, and to install nine monitoring wells.

Over the next 10 years, the wells monitored the cleanliness of the location. McMahon noted that after a while, the area showed no contamination. McMahon said the BDC/IDA tried to sell the property with no luck.

Since the property can’t be sold to a private party and given only to a municipality, McMahon said the entire BDC/IDA board supports donating it to the village. Once the village acquires the property, it cannot be resold and needs to be used as a public park, McMahon added.

The current evaluated price of the property is $105,000, McMahon said.

According to McMahon, the BDC/IDA board has instructed its lawyer to write an official resolution for the board meeting on April 8. Village attorney Dante Armideo recommended that Homer officials set up a resolution to accept the donation from the BDC/IDA for its last meeting in April.

McMahon mentioned that BDC/IDA’s lawyer discovered that the land is in Cortlandville. Since the property is within three miles of the village line, McMahon said an annexation isn’t needed.

“It just seemed to us to be the highest and best use of that property, to work it into the DRI program and have something nice for the village,” McMahon said.

Village mayor Hal MCabe, along with board member Ed Finkbeiner, immediately thought of the idea of a dog park on that property. 

“This is really great. Obviously, we’re thankful,” McCabe said.

Finkbeiner noted that he’s wanted to put a dog park on that land “for years.”

“I like it. This is awesome,” Finkbeiner said, expressing his excitement for the donation. “This is absolutely something I’ve wanted for years. I’ve had plans for that property for years.”

Further details on the pending donation and the future of a dog park in the village remain to be seen.