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Mohawk Valley rakes in millions in state grants

Mohawk Valley rakes in millions in state grants

Amsterdam awarded funding for library, community center
Mohawk Valley rakes in millions in state grants
The Mohawk Valley Gateway Overlook pedestrian bridge in 2016.
Photographer: Marc Schultz

ALBANY — For the fourth year in a row, the Mohawk Valley has been named a top-performing region among New York state's ten regional economic councils, receiving $82.7 million allocated to 81 projects, with major awards going to Amsterdam and Gloversville. 

In Amsterdam, two major economic development projects already set to receive funding from the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award in 2018 were awarded additional state funding Thursday, in keeping with New York state's strategy of doubling down on existing economic development projects: 

Amsterdam Free Library Renovation and Expansion, Business incubator and STEM education center (already receiving $1.8 million in DRI funding) was awarded $800,000 toward a proposed three-story addition. The entire project, to expand the library to include a new business incubator, a Science Technology, Engineering and Math education facility, and multiuse community room complete with stage, screen, and sound and light equipment is expected to cost a combined $4.3 million.

The Community Center and Recreation Center Project (already receiving $2.5 million in DRI funding) was awarded $1.2 million Thursday to rehabilitate existing buildings into a new modern Community Center and the new construction of a Recreation Center in the East End of Amsterdam.

The total project is expected to cost $5 million and will include construction of a community center to be operated by the Boys & Girls Club of the Capital Area in partnership with Centro Civico, which will include a computer lab, art gallery, shared kitchen, and facilities for reading, music, tutoring, recreation, painting, photography, and cinema. Plans for the sports recreation center, estimated to cost $3 million, include three basketball courts, a six-lane indoor track around a 180-foot turf field, an indoor golf simulator and a multipurpose room.

Community and Economic Development Director Amanda Bearcroft said the awards show the state is supporting all of the economic growth momentum occurring in the Mohawk Valley. She said Amsterdam Free Library Director Nicole Hemsley has pursued other construction funding that should contribute an additional $1 million toward its goal. 

"All of the projects are on track of what we anticipated in terms of funding, so once we get some contracts in place we can start going through some hearing documents and getting through those up-[front] costs to start construction and just piecemeal the rest together, but we're exactly where we need to be to move these projects forward," she said. 

Bearcroft said she's been having bimonthly meetings with the state Department of Transportation on a required shutdown of a portion of the eastbound spur of Route 5 in order to facilitate construction of the new recreation center. 

"So, the rec center is still going to take some time, but the community center, now that we have the funding for that, we can move forward as soon as we have contracts in place," she said. "[The community center] is a rehab project, so we are anticipating we can start that work at any time; we don't even have to wait for the spring — it just depends on how fast we can get a [Request for Proposals] out there and find a consultant we want to hire and get all of that paperwork done." 

Other state grants awarded in Amsterdam Thursday include: 

  • $20,000 — Centro Civico, Neena Rao Daycare Center expansion, renovating a portion of 143 E. Main St. to expand the daycare center, doubling the number of children served from 14 to 28.
  • $50,000 — to update the City of Amsterdam's Local Waterfront Revitalization Program to reflect the city’s current waterfront vision and revitalization priorities. 
  • $30,000 — City of Amsterdam Collection System Improvements Study to complete an engineering report that identifies problems with its wastewater treatment system, such as inflow and infiltration in the collection system, and recommends corrective actions. "Overall, I think it was a pretty good day for funding in the city," Bearcroft said.
  • $190,000 — City of Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency, for the purpose of helping the The Whispering Pines Preschool to purchase the former Clara Bacon Elementary School to provide wrap around daycare space, increased capacity for enrollment and the ability to add more programming opportunities to help the school's mission to provide services to children with developmental and behavioral disabilities.

Amy Frank, director of the Whispering Pines program at the Bacon School, said the grant will be helpful toward enabling Whispering Pines to close the sale of the school, but she couldn't say for certain when that will happen. She said the organization is excited to get the money. "We don’t need the grant for the purchase because we are mortgaging that. The grant will enable us to make the necessary upgrades to the property — ie, roof, floors, parking — because we have already met the increased employment we projected in the application that went in just a few months ago," Frank said.

Projects elsewhere in Montgomery County include:

  • $600,000 — Montgomery County for the Schoharie Crossing Stabilization project, to continue the stabilization and restoration work at the aqueduct at Schoharie Crossing, a circa-1840s upgrade to the original Erie Canal.
  • $500,000 — Mohawk Valley Collective, to assist in the renovation of Unity Hall, an anchor project and net zero energy projec in the village of Fort Plain's downtown.  
  • $222,275 — Town of Charleston for a salt shed. 
  • $136,000 — Forest Preserve Users, Inc., for the purchase of snowmobile trail grooming equipment to maintain trails in Montgomery County.
  • $111,184 — Town of Florida, community park. 
  • $50,000 — Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency, to structure a comprehensive Economic Development Strategy that allows the county to craft its own economic destiny. 
  • $20,000 — Greater Mohawk Valley Land Bank Corp. to complete a feasibility study for the historic Stone Lodge property located at 132 W. Grand St. in Palatine Bridge.
  • $50,000 — Montgomery County Business Development Center, also for the Schoharie Crossing Stabilization Project. 
  • $25,000 — hiring of full time arts educator for the Schoharie River Center. 

Projects in Fulton County include:

  • $408,750 — The village of Broadalbin will install ultraviolet effluent disinfection equipment at its wastewater treatment plant.  
  • $41,700 — Caroga Arts Collective, funding for a general manager for the nonprofit.
  • $500,000 — for renovation of 20-24 S. Main St., Gloversville.
  • $345,000 — Gloversville Rail Station Park mprovements, including a splash pad and spray park as well as restroom facilities. 
  • $225,000 — A Brownfield Opportunity Area Nomination Study for an area of approximately 197 acres located in the Cayudutta Creek Corridor in Gloversville. 
  • $50,000 — Fulton County Center for Regional Growth to renovate 10,000 square feet of its 34 W. Fulton St. facility in Gloversville to create a business incubator.

Gloversville 1st Ward Councilwoman Marcia Weiss said the impact of the grants will be "huge."
  
"We will have a new spray park and restroom facilities by next summer, which will give our children someplace to go in the hot summer months," she said. "We will be able to do a brownfield study along Cayadutta to help revitalize the area, which will help with  more jobs and revenue and taxes, 24-27 South Main will get a facelift. These are three big wins for our community." 

Projects Schoharie County include:

  • $1 million — Village of Cobleskill Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrades. 
  • $500,000 — Village of Schoharie, to restore and renovate the historic Parrott House, constructed in 1870.
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