Plans for Beech-Nut site progress

A map of the former Beech-Nut site in the village of Canajoharie is shown. On Wednesday, residents came together to discuss and give feedback of what the site could possibly be in the future. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

CANAJOHARIE — During the public hearing held by the village of Canajoharie on Wednesday on the future of the former Beech-Nut site, residents tossed around ideas such as turning it into a community gathering spot, a playground or even a hotel.

Employees of Skeo Solutions — Alisa Hefner, Matt Robbie and Catherine Brown — were there to discuss the future plans for the site. They also came to help the residents come up with conceptional ideas and listen to the residents’ feedback and what they would like to see happen to the Beech-Nut site.

“We have been very pleased to see all these people; we want their input,” said Canajoharie Mayor Francis Avery. “It is the communities’ project, not my project, not my opinion, it is the communities. We want to examine very carefully every suggestion and see what we can implement feasibly.”

Hefner first gave a short presentation updating the residents on what has been currently happening with the Beech-Nut site and future plans.

She said there are going to be four phases. The first phase was the clean-up and dealing with the asbestos. Phase two of the plan, which has been completed was the environmental assessment for the site. The third phase was dealing with the ownership and lastly planning and gathering community ideas and input of what the site could be in the future.

“I know it’s been several years since the facility shut down, but I think that some good news is that the community might finally start to see some activity on the site,” Hefner said.

After the brief presentation, residents then split up into three groups; one group went with Hefner, one with Robbie and third group with Brown.

While in these groups, the Skeo employees asked the residents questions such as, “What makes Canajoharie great?” “What challenges face Canajoharie?” and “What are your hopes for the future?”

They took all of the answers to those questions and used them as a guide to help brainstorm ideas for the future of the Beech-Nut site and what to make of the buildings that aren’t being demolished.

Some ideas residents had were to have something that is appealing to attract more people into the village, a park, a community center, an indoor play place for kids, a community college branch, hotel, dog park and more.

“What we would like to see now is more attention for the moment paid on the east side, which is the warehousing side. That would be the easiest to be redeveloped,” Avery said. “Then I feel that would be able to generate some income that could then be used to work on the west side, the office space where it is the greatest challenge.”

Residents said they liked that the Skeo Solution employees asked them for their feedback and appreciated coming together as a community to share ideas for the future Beech-Nut site.

“I’m excited that at least we have a good start with grant money to tear it down because I have a 10-year-old who is embarrassed to have family visit here because it’s such an eye-sore,” said Maryellen Driscoll, resident. “It really drags our community down, so at the very least we have money to get it out of our sight.”

Residents who couldn’t make it to the public hearing and would like to share their ideas can visit the website at

By Patricia Older

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