Welcome to the spotlight, Mary Ann Rizzo of Amherst, NY. In case you missed it, Rizzo has filed a lawsuit to block the construction of a $4.5 billion Verizon data center in Somerset.
Now, we're not going to spend a whole lot of time on this one. But have you ever wondered why Western New York has such a difficult time attracting and retaining employers? Yes, there are stifling taxes and burdensome regulations, but you'll find that across New York. Still, businesses invest billions of dollars in this state every year - but not in our region.
Now we have a company that is willing to invest in our community, creating hundreds of permanent employment opportunities and thousands of construction jobs, and one woman is going to try to stop it because it will block the view of Lake Ontario from a piece of property that she doesn't even live in. Brilliant. By the way, this same property that Rizzo claims will lose value if this project is completed also houses the AES coal-burning plant - hardly Utopia.
While there has been much discussion on the investment asked of local and state development agencies to make this project happen, make no mistake about it: this project is good for Niagara County. Our region has lagged behind other parts of the state and country when it comes to the economic recovery.
With companies like Edwards Vacuum, Globe Metals, Yahoo! and Verizon investing in Niagara, we are finally taking advantage of our two greatest natural resources, hydropower and fresh water. Let's hope our other greatest resource, our people, don't stand in the way of much-needed economic development.