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Grand Island Supervisor: "This is basically going to be our decision, not theirs"

Posted at 11:59 PM, Mar 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-02 23:59:17-05

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WKBW) — Monday night saw standing room only at Grand Island Town Hall as neighbors packed in to hear details on a "e-commerce storage and distribution center" proposed for the island.

It's officially called "Project Olive." The five-story, almost four million square foot warehouse is set to create at least 1,000 area jobs and 300 construction jobs. Developers TC Buffalo Development are planning to put "Project Olive" on Long Road.

Last week, former Grand Island Town Supervisor, Nate McMurray, confirmed rumors to 7 Eyewitness News "Project Olive" was code for Amazon. During the workshop, current Grand Island Supervisor, John Whitney, asked representatives for the developers to clarify who exactly is moving in, but developers declined.

"He may be right. I mean who else is gonna build a 3,783,000 square foot building?" Whitney said.

Among environmental and over development concerns, traffic commanded the attention of the hour-long workshop. A traffic study done for "Project Olive" by the development team notes traffic will increase, but improvements to existing infrastructure will make this plan possible.

Town Board members, though, asked numerous traffic questions including different entrances and exits, bridge maintenance schedules and continued increased traffic due to other development plans on the island.

Many neighbors at Monday night's Town Board Workshop, were concerned about this project. "Concerned about a project this big on our island. It's not that big of an island," Greg Doxtater said after the meeting.

"I just don't want to have the project here because they're crowding Grand Island," Debbie Daigler said about "Project Olive." Fellow Grand Island resident Marcia Whittle said, "I love living here. It's a very beautiful environment here and I don't want to see it ruined...I did consider tonight possibly moving if it does happen."

This project won't happen overnight. Supervisor Whitney said this is just the beginning of the process and the board will thoroughly vet all avenues. Developers noted if all goes well and the project is approved, a fully operational warehouse could be up in 18-24 months. Representatives for the developers declined to comment after the meeting.

"I know they have a very aggressive timeline in mind. I don't know that we will be able to hold to their timeline. This is basically going to be our decision, not theirs," Supervisor Whitney said.

A public hearing for this project is set for April 8th at 7 p.m. in Grand Island High School auditorium.