Valley Viewpoints: Castiglia questions Aldi plan

Questions about Aldi’s

On Tuesday April 15, I attended the Fulton Common Council meeting as I do most of the time.

This meeting was also a public hearing on a special use permit for the location of an Aldi’s grocery store on the corner of South Fourth and Fay streets.

As you have seen there were several store owners from the west side and they spoke and voiced their opinions on Aldi’s and what effect it will have on their businesses.

I was there to ask questions that I felt were important to know the answers to before making a decision on whether or not to allow a new business of any sort to locate here in Fulton..

First, I want everyone to know that of all the people that I asked if they were happy an Aldi’s was going to locate at the old Nestles site —  75 percent were happy, 15 percent didn’t care and 10 percent didn’t want it there.

With that said, I wonder if the percentage would stay the same if all the info was known.

These are the questions and the answers.

Is the property going to be owned or leased by Aldi’s? Answer: Owned by Aldi’s

What will the assessed value of the property be? Answer: Unknown (I stated what the assessed value of the property is now. That is for all the 22 acres)

(Maybe there is a tax deal in the works that no one wants to talk about) If so what are we gaining ?

What will be done with the property along Seventh Street up to the ball fields? Answer: Not sure but doubted the owner would leave it looking like it does now.

(Later the engineer for the project said he wasn’t aware of any development of any part of the site east of Fifth Street).

So it could remain the way it is now for a long time.

Will this (the Aldi’s store coming to this location) mean we must maintain our current level of fire protection? Answer: (after a brief discussion about how many people in Fulton feel that we shouldn’t have as many as we do have) Yes

How many jobs? Answer: Unknown (I said this is important because with this store coming to town, it may cause another one to close so there may be a net loss of jobs)

After the council couldn’t answer this question, there was no sense in asking these questions: What is the pay rate going to be? Will they (the workers) have benefits or be eligible for them? Will they be union jobs? Will they make overtime pay?

What local products will be sold in the store (milk, produce, etc.)? Answer: Not sure but we think they sell Byrne Dairy milk (I don’t think that will happen. Not with a Byrne Dairy right down the road – I didn’t say this at the meeting – and Byrne Dairy isn’t local, Hudsons Dairy is).

Will they have fresh meat and will it be 100 percent beef? Answer: Unknown

Will they have a shopping cart patrol (someone that goes around and picks up the carts that are taken home and used for moving vans) Answer: They will have to pay a quarter for the use of the cart so I don’t think they will not return them.

(I said do you really think the people that take them home with them really care if they lose a quarter)

What will the hours of operation be? Answer: (at this point one of the men sitting behind me started to answer and I said “I know you know but you aren’t voting on this) Unknown

Now let’s see how many answers I received: 4-Unkown, 2-Answered, 2-Unsure, 1-Guess

I didn’t think it was possible to obtain so little information from such a knowledgeable group about such an important issue.

There was one other question asked but the councilor that was asked it seemed a little confused so I didn’t include it. It was regarding a traffic study.

All due respect to the five council members that were there — they may have known all these answers and just didn’t want to share the answers with me, the general public or taxpayers.

I just felt it important to find out what the answers were in order to make an informed decision. I agree that we need jobs and businesses to help us. We must make sure as much as possible is known so that the decision is a WIN WIN not a WIN LOSE.

Aldi’s may just be our Ark or it could be our Titanic, only time will tell. I and about 10,000 other people hope and pray that it is our Ark.

Frank Castiglia Jr.

Fulton

County legislator district 25

Muggsy’s Place

I had a thought the other day about my friend Margaret (Muggsy) Beckwith’s long time dedication to helping the Fulton Boosters Club.

I best remember her as one of the smiling, competent volunteers keeping the refreshment stand operating to financially support Booster projects.

How appropriate it would be to name that refreshment stand “Muggsy’s Place.”

Rich Burke

Fulton

Editor’s Note: Margaret Beckwith, of Fulton, who served with the Fulton Athletics Booster Club more than 25 years, died Jan. 18. 

Memorial bricks

Spring is a good time to take a ride over to The Fulton War Memorial, and look at the Fulton Veterans Council’s “Walk of History.”

If you would like to purchase a brick for yourself or in someone’s honor, please call 598-9696.

This is a nice way to honor your veteran but you do not have to be a veteran to have a brick. It’s just a nice way to help support our veterans and this project.

The Fulton Veterans Council also invites you to share in our Memorial Day ceremonies on May 26 at 9 a.m.

We start at St. Mary’s cemetery and end at the War Memorial, with a Fulton Veterans Council luncheon following at the VFW on Cayuga Street. The public is encouraged to attend.

Donna Kestner

Fulton Veterans Council

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