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Elmira Hotel Developers Postpone Project, Blame Cuomo's Delay on Fracking Decision

ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM-18) - Groundbreaking for a proposed Elmira hotel has now been cancelled. And the developers blame Governor Andrew Cuomo's delay in deciding whether to allow high-volume, hydraulic fracturing in New York State.
ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM-18) - Groundbreaking for a proposed Elmira hotel has now been cancelled. And the developers blame Governor Andrew Cuomo's delay in deciding whether to allow high-volume, hydraulic fracturing in New York State.

The movie line is: "if you build it, they will come." But developers of a proposed Elmira hotel say because gas drillers aren't coming, they aren't building it. A Staybridge Inn was supposed to go up in a lot off East Church Street. The Buffalo-based developers say they were counting on Governor Cuomo to allow fracking, bringing workers who needed a long-term stay hotel. He hasn't. So the project is on hold.

“We've been watching the hotel business down in Elmira area for probably the last year or so and we've seen rates drop and business drop anywhere from 20 to 40 percent,” said William Paladino, CEO of Ellicott Development. “It's probably based mainly on the fracking business moving on.”

Paladino said the project isn't dead, it's just on hold. And it doesn't completely depend on a decision being made about fracking.
The Elmira mayor said if a long-term stay hotel doesn’t work without the drilling business, Paladino should think about putting in a different kind of hotel instead.

“We have really no conference space here,” said Elmira Mayor Sue Skidmore (D). “We have lots of large businesses that travel out of the area to hold conferences,”

The mayor said the economic development council told her there aren't enough hotels in the area, even with new hotels in Big Flats. Although the fracking ban is apparently costing Elmira money, Skidmore says her stance on hydraulic fracturing has not changed.

“I'm not for fracking because I think it's harmful to the environment,” said Skidmore. “But I would be for fracking if it were safe. Why is (the Governor’s decision) taking so long? I mean, if the health study is done, it should be announced. The health study should have been done in the beginning when they were doing all their other studies. They just didn't plan it right. And maybe they planned it on purpose this way, I just don't know.”

Cuomo, a Democrat, said he's waiting on a study about possible environmental effects and a recommendation from his health commissioner.

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