February 20, 2013
Homer Iron Works expanding
$1 million project would more than double business’ size
Bob Ellis/staff photographer
Mike Park, owner of Homer Iron Works, stands at his business on Route 11. Park is building a 15,000- to 20,000-square-foot expansion about a quarter-mile north of the current business. Park expects to break ground next spring.
HOMER — Homer Iron Works is planning to build and move into a new facility that will at least double the business’ square footage, about a quarter-mile north of its current location on Route 11 north of the village, said owner Mike Park.
The planned facility at 5024 Route 11 will be between 15,000 and 20,000 square feet, while the business’ current facility has in total 7,200 square feet, said Park, who is also the Cortland County Legislature chairman.
Homer Iron Works, which offers structural steel, welding and gas piping services and fixes everything from lawn mowers to heavy equipment, had outgrown its current site, with no more room to expand, and needed more parking for dump trucks and tractors, he said.
“The big reason to do this is to make us more competitive in what we do,” said Park, who noted the larger facility will help the business finish projects more quickly. “We lost some work because our facility wasn’t big enough to accomplish the task.”
The expansion also will allow the business to add more employees, Park said.
At least two positions will likely be added in the first year after the expansion and another two every year could be added for some time after that, he said.
Before construction on the new facility can begin, Homer Iron Works must close on the property and present a site plan review to the Homer Town Board. The project was approved by the Homer Town Planning Board Feb. 11.
Park plans to break ground on the project in the spring of 2014 and expects construction to take four months.
Stanley Birchenough, of 5224 Route 11, currently owns the 57-acre property, which is mostly vacant land, but it also contains a house and barn that will remain, Park said.
Creating the new facility will not be cheap.
“We’ll probably have around a million dollar investment,” said Park, who is not seeking any government incentives for the project.
Once the facility at the new location is complete, all of Homer Iron Works will move up the road and the current facility will either be sold, leased out or rented out.
“We’ll consolidate everything into a bigger building (at the new site),” Park said.
Park founded Homer Iron Works in 1976, and built his first shop in 1981 at his home on McDonald Road. In 1984, the business moved to a Route 11 site that was later bought by Suit-Kote. The company moved to its current location in 1994.
“Mike Park and his family have been very solid business people in Homer for many years,” said Bob Haight, executive director of the Cortland Chamber of Commerce.
The business’ expansion will not only make the company more viable, but the new facility will be more aesthetically pleasing for the surrounding community, said Haight, a Homer resident.
Haight also noted Homer Iron Works does work for companies that are outside Cortland County, which means out-of-county dollars are being spent on local workers, who in turn spend their money in local businesses.
“It helps when you have out of town money coming into Cortland County,” Haight said.
Homer Iron Works has been involved with jobs as far north as Canton, St. Lawrence County, and as far south as northern Pennsylvania, Park said.
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