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Dundee merchants prepare Main Street grant

    DUNDEE—Main Street and Water Street store owners in Dundee plan to improve the downtown image through a state Main Street grant.
    Merchants met with architect, In Site of Perry, N.Y., and grant writer on Thursday, Feb. 2, to go over facade guidelines and other aspects of the application. Julie Chevalier, executive director of Community Progress Inc., is writing the application, which has nine interested store owners at this point, including the Water Street Pharmacy and Martini’s ShurFine. She added there might be a 10th as well.
    The Main Street grant program provides funds from the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation (HTFC) to units of local government, business improvement districts, and other not-for-profit organizations that are committed to revitalizing historic downtowns, mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts, and village centers.
    Keuka Housing Council executive Director Kathy Disbrow said the Main Street grant can also be used for repairing roofs, new windows, and making a building more energy efficient. Chevalier said most of the interested Dundee merchants want facade improvements, with some considering renovating the downstairs commercial area and the upstairs for new apartments. She added improving the downtown’s look “gives the wow factor” and can encourage people driving through Dundee to stop. Since the Water Street Pharmacy has recently been renovated, the owners want to repoint the building’s stonework to improve its structural integrity.
    If awarded, Chevalier said one thing is guaranteed: any store owner who receives Main Street grant money will have to contribute a certain amount. In the previous year that included a 25 percent match. However, Chevalier added she does not know how much this matching amount will be.
However, Chevalier said the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal has not yet released a deadline or grant rules. She explained that last year the state changed the program.
    Chevalier said winners from the March, 2011, deadline were just announced in December; making the process almost a year behind. She added the previous deadline was one month after the announcement that the state was accepting applications. She said that is why they are working on this application early.
    Included in that is the facade guidelines that the Dundee Merchants Association is working on with In Site Architecture. Chevalier said having guidelines makes the application stronger.
    Disbrow explained the architect was paid $2,000, with the cost split evenly between the council, Our Town RoCKS, the town of Starkey, and the village of Dundee. However, before it can be finalized, it needs to be approved by the Dundee village board and then the planning board. Disbrow said after the merchants make suggestions to the document, it could be presented to the village within two weeks.
    Disbrow said the guidelines include suggestions like, restoring a building to its original appearance if any repairs are made. She added the guidelines should not be confused with the village building code.




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