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What is Tonawanda's future after Huntley closing? Plan unveiled Wednesday

The closing of the Huntley Power Plant took a big bite out of the Town of Tonawanda'a tax base, and also leaves a huge mothballed building on the town's waterfront. What to do?

Residents, business owners and community stakeholders over the past nine months have worked on a plan on how to revitalize the town's industrial base.

The plan is called "Tonawanda Tomorrow," and a draft will be presented 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Phillip Sheridan Building Community Room, 3200 Elmwood Ave.

"This is a big deal for the town. How we are going to grow our economy now that Huntley is shut down?" said James Hartz, director of planning and development. "One of the most important factors is workforce development – training our children for the jobs of the future."

Some of the ideas they are looking at is building a job center in the town, offering technical assistance to small businesses, and showcasing brownfield opportunity development.

Hartz said Huntley was 5 percent of their overall budget, which is significant and could take 5 to 10 years to absorb, but overall they have a diversified economy.

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