Capital Region

Pool, new arts center at SPAC flagged as priority projects in state sweepstakes

A swimming facility is proposed for Mohawk Harbor, pictured here in 2017.
A swimming facility is proposed for Mohawk Harbor, pictured here in 2017.

SCHENECTADY — Big ticket projects flagged by Capital Region economic development officials in their annual wish list for state funding include a proposed indoor aquatic center at Mohawk Harbor in Schenectady, a new arts center at SPAC and a yogurt manufacturing facility for a Schuylerville dairy.

Those are among the 12 priority projects identified by the Capital Region Economic Development Council (REDC) for $24.5 million in the ninth round of regional economic development awards.

Ten regions around the state annually compete for $750 million in grants, subsidies, tax credits and other economic incentives.

Priority projects are those that check off boxes on regional strategic goals while also furthering the priorities flagged by the state, including downtown revitalization, childcare, environmental justice and workforce development.

Additional local priority projects include:

  • Capital Region BOCES is seeking $6.8 million to replace its 46-year-old career and technical education center in Colonie as part of a $34 million project.
  • Capital Repertory Theatre wants $150,000 as part of an $850,000 effort to “purchase, develop and operate” a parking lot on a long-vacant lot in Arbor Hill.
  • Nettle Meadow Cheese Company & Sanctuary Farm has outgrown its current cheese plant in Warrensburg and plans to acquire a nearby landmark property in Johnsburg. They’re seeking $120,000 as part of the $692,525 project.
  • Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences is asking for $4.1 million for a $21 million project for the multi-phase Center for Biomanufacturing Education and Training.
  • Dagen Trucking, Inc. is seeking $1.5 million for a new port in Albany.

The proposed Capital Region Aquatic Center calls for a 76,000-square-foot facility equipped with an Olympic-size swimming pool, diving well and an eight-lane programming and instructional pool. 

The $35.4 million center would be a “community asset and a major economic driver, offering year-round programs for residents and visitors of every age,” according to the Capital Region REDC, which is seeking $5 million.

Developers and local officials, who have long sought the project, say the facility could host regional swimming competitions from across the state and country.

Applicants pegged early attendance estimates at 100,000 athletes and visitors annually.

King Brothers Dairy is seeking $340,000 in state assistance to help build an additional 7,000-square-feet of processing space at their Schuylerville location, a $1.8 million project which would aid with the custom production of a new “rapidly-expanding” French yogurt company. 

The Saratoga Performing Arts Center said its proposed overhaul of the vacant Roosevelt II Bathhouse into a yearlong arts center would generate an additional $3 million annually. The proposed first phase of $7.8 million “Parks for the Arts” project is seeking $1.5 million.

The Capital Region REDC has received $118.1 million in funding for 149 projects since 2011.

Awards are typically announced every December in a pomp-filled ceremony in Albany. 

The Capital Region is also awaiting the announcement of a separate-but-related economic contest, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which annually awards one community in each of the state’s 10 regions $10 million. 

Past Capital Region recipients have included Hudson, Albany, Glens Falls and Amsterdam.

The city of Schenectady has submitted an application this year, which includes funding requests for numerous streetscape projects to link downtown with Mohawk Harbor, a key goal for city officials.

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