Area projects get Cuomo's support
TRI-COUNTY AREA—Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced how much the Finger Lakes and Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Councils will receive out of $785 million available, Thursday, Dec. 8.
The counties were divided up into 10 councils, which then created proposals for how each area would spend the money available to improve the economy. According to the governor’s office, the Finger Lakes council (which includes Yates County) will get $68.8 million for 93 projects. Schuyler and Steuben Counties are part of the Southern Tier council, which will get $49.4 million from the state for 58 projects.
In Yates, that includes $2,281,000 for the proposed Finger Lakes Cultural & Natural History Museum. The facility is expected to be a natural and cultural resource dedicated to the enjoyment, education and stewardship of the Finger Lakes region—and to fresh water conservation around the world. The first step will be to renovate a former elementary school building. A green roof will be installed, covering the roof with vegetation and a drainage system to absorb rainfall and limit stormwater runoff, as well as restoring and protecting adjacent stream banks.
Mabrouka Properties II LLC will receive $401,010. The project involves the purchase of Dundee Foods and re-opening it. Mabrouka will purchase and install equipment necessary to support a large food manufacturing business. Activities will include receipt and storage of bulk shipments of raw material foods (olive oil, olives, capers, sardines, other specialty foods, wines, liquers and other raw materials) much of which will be imported from overseas.
Ryan Hallings, vice president of community development for Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, said the sale of the Dundee Foods facility should be closed by the end of the year. He added that the operating name of Dundee’s plant under Mabrouka has not been decided yet. He explained Mabrouka will own the property, but the name is a brand decision.
A number of grants will be for housing. Yates County Homeownership Program will receive $750,000 to assist 77 low-and moderate income persons with the purchase of a home in Yates County.
The Bishop Sheen Ecumenical Housing Foundation, Inc. will get $400,000 to rehabilitate 12 homes and replace two mobile homes in Yates. Keuka Housing Council, Inc. was included for two different grants. The group will use $120,000 to improve and preserve homes and communities in Yates County, and resell homes to low-income first-time homebuyers. Another $432,000 will be spent to establish a homebuyer program for low income homebuyers, providing down payment, closing cost assistance and rehabilitation to homes for income qualified homebuyers.
Document Reprocessors of New York, Inc. will receive $750,000 to renovate an existing Yates building to house production facilities for cleaning, scanning and reproduction of documents.
For the Southern Tier, $500,000 will be for Community Progress Inc. to rehabilitate and revitalize 10 buildings into seven commercial and three residential units in the central business district in downtown Watkins Glen. A portion of the award will go to streetscape enhancements.
Schuyler County will get $144,000 to replace and repair substandard septic systems and well-water systems for 12 units of single-family housing in Schuyler.
The village of Watkins Glen will get $15,000. The village will produce a waterfront development plan for Tank Beach, which will include a natural history interpretive center to serve as the trail head to Queen Catharine Marsh, and for a walking and biking trail and boardwalk on Seneca Lake. It will complete design work for a marina, restaurant, boat storage, public launch, housing, and promenade.
Money will also be available to multiple counties in the councils for various shovel-ready projects, wetland reconstruction, and a harvesting program.