continued Village officials said that many of the buildings’ owners didn’t have spare money to undertake major renovations.
This lack of cash could be offset in part through a program of streetscape grants and loans offered through a business improvement district or local development corporation, Blais said. such a program would spur storefront improvements, Blais said, citing existing programs in Glens Falls and Saratoga Springs.
He suggested that matching grants and low-interest loans be offered for storefront renovations. Glens Falls, he said, offers $12,000 grants for storefront improvements.
Blais observed that local businesses had shown substantial interest in forming a Business Improvement District, based on opinions expressed at a recent initial BID meeting that attracted 68 business owners.
“This is a very positive sign for the village,” he said. “People are now stepping up to the plate and working together.
The next meeting of merchants interested in forming a Business Improvement District is scheduled for March 19.
Also, village trustees are considering enriching their property tax exemptions —which in the first year after a storefront upgrade allow a 50 percent reduction in the value of the upgrade, falling to 25 percent the second year and 5 percent for the next three years. The enhanced exemption would also begin at 50 percent, but reduce by only 5 percent per year — for a total of 10 years, Blais said.
Blais added that once a few store owners upgraded their facades, others would follow to retain their tourist traffic.
“These incentives could have a ripple effect, starting with people who take pride in their stores,” he said.
“We can take a big step in making Lake George more attractive for developers,” he said. “Lately, business owners are being very cooperative and very eager to assist us in accomplishing our goals.”