County Executive Hopeful Purposes To Rejuvenate Ripley

RIPLEY-George Borrello, Republican Candidate for Chautauqua County Executive, plans to construct a “Best of Western New York” Commerce Center in Ripley if elected.

Borrello told WNYNewsNow “Chautauqua County and the Town of Ripley have been ignored and under utilized by the State of New York for far too long.

“It is the gateway to our state,” said Borrello. “We need to utilize that asset to its fullest potential.”

The project, which would sit just off the Shortman Rd. Exit, would offer distinctive products and agricultural goods according to Borrello.

“I envision a facility that offers travelers a considerable selection of locally grown and produced goods vended by a large farmers’ market; agricultural value-added products such as juices, jams and jellies; and unique culinary experiences such as restaurants that serve local cuisine,” explained Borrello.

“I also picture a center that offers original and hand-made artisan goods as well as other products made in Western New York and the Southern Tier. I could see it being a campus with unique architecture in a park-like setting modeled after the Tamarack Tourism Center, located on Route 64 in West Virginia, which attracts more than a half a million visitors annually.”

Borrello noted the project must be self-sustaining, render a profit and bring jobs to the county.

County Executive Candidate George Borrello at Sunset Bay Beach campaigning. Photo by Justin Gould/WNYNewsNow.

The candidate said he envisions a unique commerce center that creates an unforgettable western portal to the State of New York and Chautauqua County.

“A portion of the center would provide an opportunity for travelers to sample and purchase foods and products that are available throughout Western New York State, including locally grown produce, adult beverages, and hand-made goods, thereby “wetting their appetite” to visit the real thing.” said Borrello.

The proposed facility would also act as a traditional rest stop, providing gas, restrooms, and snacks to travelers per Borrello.

Borrello estimates the project to cost $15-20 million .

The candidate said he would seek funding from the Buffalo Billion via the WNY Regional Economic Development Council.

Borrello said he believes that this project could act as a catalyst for local, regional and state economic development to flourish, while making an
exceedingly favorable first impression for tens of thousands of visitors entering and exiting New York State daily by way of the Thruway.


  1. Ripley was scheduled many years ago to have a McDonald’s Rest Area similar to the one located in Eden/Angola Area on Route 90. State Budget Cuts took that off our radar and it to my knowledge has never been revisited by New York State to put it back on it’s agenda. Ripley is a beautiful town with a large population of Senior Citizens, Struggling young Families, Farmers, and Middle Class Working Families. We need to be put on the Map as New York Gateway of the West. We once had a thriving Town with Grocery Stores, ,Mill, Variety Store(Rice’s), Floral Shop, Car Wash, Local Pubs, Gas Stations, Truck Stop and Antique Shops. People drive through our Town and call it a “Ghost Town”. Meeder’s Restaurant is still here serving Home Made Meals and Home Made Pies, but are not getting the “Stand In Line” crowds that it had in the past. We would gladly welcome any economical incentives and businesses in our Ripley. We would rather spend our money here at home than to have to travel to towns 8 miles away.

  2. This sounds good. My family hasoften felt that the entrance into Ripley, whether Shortman or State Line at PA gave a bad impression. (State line: Fireworks stores and battered “Niagra Falls Info” A-frame). Ripley is my hometown, and I’m proud of it – It needs some help.

  3. That’s it!!! A new welcome Center…then after the tourists leave it, the let down begins for the rest of their vacation! Lol!

  4. George has been a legislator for ten years with a Republican majority. Has he ever brought this up or worked for this? Just wondering. Sounds like a lot of promises of things he could have spearheaded years ago. And how about his leadership on the opioid crisis that he’s so concerned about all of a sudden.

  5. We were supposed to get a welcome center a decade or two ago. I recall that money being spent by a then town supervisor and we got an adult store instead. Ripley is in dire need of revitalization. The new Dollar General helps. I hope our little town can reclaim some of the glory it once was.

  6. Stephanie, The money for the Welcome Center over a decade ago was not spent by the Then Town Supervisor or the Board Members. Governor George Pataki cut the budget and removed our Welcome Center Funds. I was on the Ripley Town Board at that the time of the budget cuts. Monies for that Welcome Center were NEVER paid or given to the Town to spend. The location of that Welcome Center was going to be in the center Medium of the NYS Thruway. That is not the “Gate Way” area to New York. If you wanted to the Welcome Center, you had to pay the NYS Thruway toll to get to it!! Once you are on the Thruway, you never even go through our little town or have the opportunity to shop or dine at any of the local merchants. I think that this Proposed Project on Shortman Road is much better than the Welcome Center MacDonald’s Plaza as it might bring traffic through on Route 20 and give Ripley and surrounding towns a chance to visit and purchase items available. Yes….Ripley does need to be revitalized. We just have to stay positive and open our minds to new possible businesses. We’ve had 5 New Businesses open doors in Ripley in the last 3 months. Make sure that you frequent those businesses to keep the open and in Ripley.(Small Engine Repair, Tammy’s Country Restauraunt, Air BnB, Cooney’s Island Hand Dipped Ice Cream, AND Dollar General. Looks like we are growing already!!

  7. State Line Fireworks Stores and Niagara Falls Info Booth are not in Ripley…they are still in PA.

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