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State grants $500K for Penn Yan ADVERTISEMENT

State grants $500K for Penn Yan

PENN YAN--The village will receive a $500,000 grant from the Restore New York Communities Initiative program to restore and renovate two downtown buildings.
State Senator Tom O'Mara (R-Horseheads) said, "Restore NY is an important building block for the restoration and revitalization of quality communities throughout the Finger Lakes region and statewide. It's proven to be a useful tool to spark economic development, create local jobs and energize community pride."
Steve Griffin, chief executive officer of the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center, explained the funds are for rehabilitating the space above Longs' Cards and Books and renovating the existing building at 104-106 Main St. (formerly Belknap Books) into a mixed-use facility with an office on the main floor and four market-rate apartments above.
Griffin said the Longs' building project is going to need more engineering and design work since the upper floors were previously a theatre with high ceilings. Griffin said, "We originally asked for $1,000,000 for the projects and since that number has been cut in half we need to re-think some of the details to make it work." There were seven market-rate apartments proposed for the upper floors in that building.
The development executive said the former Belknap project should be more straightforward. Griffin said, "With that building, the structure or the bones are there, we are just going to restore the working and living space."
Griffin said the actual construction at 104-106 Main St. could start by the end of this year. He said the project at Longs' will probably be in 2019 once the final plans are approved.
Griffin said these two projects are only two of the 56 active projects his office is coordinating.
At the development group's March annual meeting Griffin said their projects include manufacturing, agriculture, retail, restaurants, tourism and the service sector.
Griffin said community projects that fill a need are some of his favorites. "When we get involved and can make a difference in the community (like with the previous conversion of the downtown Birkett Mills buildings into residential space) those are the projects that we like the most."
Griffin said currently the Sampson Theatre work, the growth at The Finger Lakes Museum and providing more housing opportunities are all quality of life projects that make a difference in the community.
Griffin also points to the growth at Yates Community Recreational Resources. They are currently expanding a with $1.25 million project and also received a $500,000 state grant.
Griffin said their goal is to create a minimum of 40 new jobs each year with their local development work. The county experienced a high of 144 new jobs in 2014.
Also at the March meeting two local awards were presented:
The Welcome Award was presented to Dan Mitchell, owner of the Staving Artist store in Penn Yan.
The Willie Taaffe Award was presented to Gene Pierce for his work with the economic center along with additional community service contributions.

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