The village has been awarded a $350,000 state grant for downtown infrastructure improvements to help with response to the fire that wiped out three buildings in the heart of the commercial district in February.
Mayor Bradley Winslow said the appropriation announced Friday by state Sen. High T. Farley, R-Niskayuna, is part of a string of grants the village has obtained in recent years as part of a downtown revitalization plan.
The money can be used for public infrastructure or to help with business rebuilding, but Winslow said exactly how it will be used isn’t clear.
“It’s definitely really needed downtown. It may be used to rebuild the buildings, but we don’t know yet,” he said.
The Feb. 11 fire destroyed three of the downtown’s most visible commercial buildings, directly across from the main traffic light where Route 9P enters downtown. A restaurant, furniture store, tattoo parlor and apartments were lost.
The remains were demolished, and the Village Board in May agreed to allow $74,000 in federal community development grants to be used to remove debris. The debris piles were removed earlier this month.
One property owner, Jeff Dumont, has said he will definitely rebuild, while the two others are still working on their plans.
Farley had helped bring earlier community development grants to the village, and a lot of downtown improvement work was going on before the fire.
“The morning after the fire, I spoke personally to Sen. Farley, and he said he was working on a few things,” Winslow said. “I think that this is in response.”
The $350,000 can be used for infrastructure like sidewalks, water and sewer lines and lighting, or to directly aid businesses affected by the fire.
“There are not any specific plans at this point,” Winslow said.
In 2006, the village got $850,000 in community development money for downtown. In all, Winslow said the village has received more than $1.2 million for downtown improvements in recent years, and the new grant will be further help.
Another $300,000 was used to repair the dam at the village’s former reservoir.
“The senator has really taken a strong interest in the small communities in his district,” Winslow said.
The aid has come as the community has struggled with its identity and future since the International Paper mill closed in 2002, eliminating northern Saratoga County’s largest employer.
Philmet Capital LLC of New York City bought the 380-acre former mill site in 2005 and is currently pursuing plans for a plastic container manufacturing plant.
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Categories: Schenectady County