Animal Adventure Park has pulled their request for a piece of the small community fund, because of a dispute with the Broome County Legislature.
Park owner Jordan Patch said in a statement that his business has been used like a political pawn throughout the application process. Patch said he received an email sent originally by a Legislator, accusing the park of criminal activity.
A statement from the Legislature explains that some members have issues with the park's non-profit status.
County Executive Jason Garnar stands by the Park, expressing his disappointment.
"You got a successful business that's saying look I want to expand, I want to add jobs and they applied to a fund that would do just that and help them with that and the Legislature has basically roadblocked them since the beginning of this application," said Garnar. "I think it's unacceptable and disrespectful to see what the Legislature has done."
Broome County Legislature Chairman Daniel J. Reynolds released a statement saying:
"We were surprised to hear today that an applicant for Small Communities Funding felt like a 'political pawn.'Over the past 2 months, the Broome County Legislature has been involved in a bipartisan discussion about a request from the Town of Colesville/Animal Adventure for $30,000 from the Small Communities Grant Fund. This application was moved forward by the Hotel/Motel Committee so a comprehensive discussion could take place between all of the stakeholders. While discussions on the resolution to award the funds were scheduled to continue Thursday at our Finance Committee meeting, it has come to our attention today that Animal Adventure has called on the Town of Colesville to rescind its application.
This resolution was tabled by Legislator Mary Kaminsky last month to allow for even more discussion on the issue. During the standard legislative review process, several general questions were raised regarding the eligibility for this project to meet the requirements of the Small Communities Fund which were developed by the County Executive and his staff and agreed to by the Legislature. The eligibility policy states that Small Community Funds cannot be awarded to a for-profit entity. While these discussions were taking place, we were unaware of specific concerns attributed to a particular legislator. We have been and will continue to be accessible to discuss the issues with Town Officials and the applicant. Attached are portions of the application and eligibility policy that displays the requirements of the applicants. To read the full Small Communities Fund Policy and Eligibility Requirements, visit http://www.gobroomecounty.com/planning/forms.
Additionally, in May, the Legislature worked in a bipartisan fashion to provide funding to The Agency to create a Small Businesses Loan program to help businesses like Animal Adventure expand in Broome County. We’ve also played a role in other bipartisan local business efforts such as supporting the Jobs. Now. Broome, A Good Life, and Buy Local campaigns along with the formation of the Broome County Regional Farmer’s Market. The Legislature stands committed helping any and all small businesses in our area grow and prosper."