Village to pursue grants for Main Street revitalization

The Saranac Lake Village Board of Trustees is directing staff to pursue funding to assist in main street and downtown revitalization efforts.

At Monday's regular board meeting, trustees authorized Community Development Director Jeremy Evans to seek grant funding through the state Department of Housing and Community Renewal's Main Street Program.

According to Evans, the program provides financial resources and technical assistance to communities looking to "strengthen the economic vitality" of downtown areas.

If the village wins the funding, it would provide participating property owners with matching renovation grants of up to $50,000 for commercial uses, as well as an additional $25,000 for each residential unit.

The total amount of funds awarded to property owners can't exceed 75 percent of the total project cost or $150,000 per building, whichever is less, according to Evans.

Evans notes that the village received $200,000 in funding through the program back in 2005, which helped renovate 20 downtown properties.

The village also applied last year, but the application came up short.

This year, Evans says he worked with program staff to put together an improved application. He says the Main Street Program is becoming increasingly competitive.

"The program staff indicated that we need to establish a smaller target area, tell the story of downtown Saranac Lake better, and increase commitments from downtown property owners," Evans said in a news release.

Some property owners have expressed an interest in improving the rear facades of Main Street and Broadway buildings. Evans says those individuals want to make "significant improvements" to properties facing the Saranac River.

"If we can get a few more owners who are interested in the concept I think it would really strengthen our application," he said.

Property owners interested in participating in the Main Street Program, including those who expressed interest last year, are urged to contact Evans as soon as possible.

He adds that the success of the application depends on demonstrating interest in the program.

The grant application is due April 29.

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