The tiny economic development agency that helped create some of the city’s best-known little restaurants is now closing its doors.
The Schenectady Local Development Corp, formally filed papers to dissolve and notified the City Council on Monday.
It gave small, low-interest loans to help start new businesses, including Ambition and More Perreca’s on Jay Street.
“We did some of the riskier loans,” Zoning Officer Steven Strichman said. “No grants, just low-interest loans to create low- and moderate-income jobs. It was sort of our own niche, low-income jobs.”
One of the most successful projects supported by the SLDC was Solid Surface Craftsman, which eventually grew too large for its city location and moved to Glenville.
“We were sort of a victim of our own success there,” Strichman said.
Most large projects go to the Metroplex Development Authority for funding now, and there’s not much need for SLDC anymore. It has not done many projects lately, which raised questions as to whether the city should continue to staff the agency.
“Times have changed,” Strichman said.
The City Council decided not to send more federal funds to the agency from this year’s Community Development Block Grant, signaling the time had come to dissolve.
The city will still receive some funds each year as recipients pay back their loans. That money will be folded into CDBG funds to be redistributed.
Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen said the SLDC was the only economic development agency in the county that wasn’t needed. Metroplex was criticized by the state last year for having too many local development groups.
“This one came out as maybe we can get rid of it,” Gillen said, noting that it was the only one with its own staff. The six other groups in the county share the same three Metroplex staffers.
And SLDC existed only to pass out CDBG funds as loans.
“We have a loan fund. It’s called Metroplex,” Gillen said. “Shut it down and have the money go to the city. It takes one entity off the list.”
Metroplex also shut down the Rotterdam Industrial Development Agency in response to the state criticism, albeit reluctantly. With the departure of SLDC, that brought the total down to five, including Metroplex.
But Glenville has just created an LDC, and this week a seventh agency is being created — a countywide land bank, which Schenectady won state permission to create with Amsterdam as an additional partner.
The city also still has its own industrial development agency, as does the county. There’s also the Business Center on Albany Street, which hosts start-ups, and the Capital Resource Corp. to handle tax-exempt properties.
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