For generations, the Fort Orange Paper Company was a source of employment and opportunity for those living in Castleton, southern Rensselaer County and surrounding areas. Those days may be returning.
Fort Orange can trace roots back to before the Civil War. For decades, the plant prospered on a large industrial complex on State Route 9J. Sadly, that ended when the plant was closed about 15 years ago, leaving the site vacant and unused.
That period of inactivity seems to be ending. At the Tuesday, March 11 legislative meeting, the County Legislature approved an agreement for the purchase of the property with MiniMill, which manufactures paper and cardboard products. The county took control of the property after a period of time following the abandonment of the property.
MiniMill is expected to create 70 to 80 jobs at the plant. There are also hundreds of construction jobs expected to be created as part of a multi-million dollar construction project.
The agreement was reached by County Executive Kathleen Jimino’s office with work by her County Economic Development office, village officials and some legislators. The late Ed Swartz played a key role in helping clean-up the property starting a decade ago, after some minor contamination was found. We will detail Ed’s efforts in a future post.
The team work, and years of effort, appear to be paying off. The Fort Orange property has been a vital part of the county for years, and it is exciting that the property is poised to return to active use in the coming months.