Seneca white deer

A white deer at the former Seneca Army Depot

After nearly three months of closed negotiation sessions, the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency has selected Earl Martin's bid for the approximately 7,000 acres of the former Seneca Army Depot property. Martin is the owner of Seneca Ironworks in Fayette, and has plans to protect the rare herd of white, white-tailed deer that currently calls the land home.

Dennis Money, president of the nonprofit organization, Seneca White Deer Inc., said he was approached by Martin to work on plans for protecting the deer herd. 

"I'm feeling pretty elated," Money said. "After 18 years of frustration, I think we're on our way to turning the deer into a real asset for the Finger Lakes region. My head is going dizzy with ideas, and we just have to work out the details with Mr. Martin, and then just start the work on rebuilding the white deer herd and opening it up for tourism."

Martin's bid was one of 16 sent to the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency. Money had also submitted a bid with the Town of Varick for 3,000 acres. They were the only bid to go public during the IDA's approximately 3 1/2-month review process.

The Citizen had filed a Freedom of Information request on March 2 with the IDA to determine the names of the other 15 bidders, but that request was denied, as was its appeal. The IDA had said releasing the names would impact negotiations and undermine the Agency's position.

While Money and the town of Varick's bid was rejected, Money said he was elated to be in talks with Martin, who recently said he was interested in forming a partnership.

The IDA said in a release that they, along with a team from the Seneca County Board of Supervisors, had chosen the winning bid at a meeting early Wednesday. Officials will introduce Martin at a press conference held at 2 p.m. Thursday, June 16 at the Seneca County Office Building, 1 DiPronio Drive, Waterloo.

There, more details will be released on Martin's plans for the property, which the IDA said includes a mix of industrial development, agriculture, tourism and wildlife and white deer preservation.

Martin could not be immediately reached for comment Wednesday.

Staff writer Gwendolyn Craig can be reached at (315) 282-2237 or gwendolyn.craig@lee.net. Follow her on Twitter @gwendolynnn1.

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County Government Reporter