Albion village eyes $10 million ‘Restore NY’ grant

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 November 2022 at 3:30 pm

Funding would ‘transform abandoned and neglected properties into modern, 21st century buildings’

Photo by Tom Rivers: Downtown Albion is shown this morning. Some of the buildings on Main Street are vacant and in disrepair.

ALBION – The Village of Albion is discussing applying for a Restore New York grant that could bring up to $10 million to revitalize commercial and residential properties.

The village last Tuesday held a public meeting with property owners to try to gauge interest in the program. Jay Grasso, owner of G&G Municipal Consulting and Grant Writing, gave an overview of the program. He sees Albion as a strong contender to receive funding through Restore New York.

The village already meets the qualifications as an economically distressed community due to poverty levels and economic hardship. That means the village won’t need to do income surveys for a part of the village to qualify. The entire village meets that criteria, which means projects can be picked throughout the village and not just the downtown business district, like other state programs are focused on.

“Albion is in a unique situation with the distressed status,” Grasso told village officials.

That status makes Albion eligible for large state grants that could help jump-start the community’s transformation.

“This is real money,” he said. “I could see several million if we apply.”

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced today that a new round of $250 million in Restore NY funding is available. Municipalities need to submit an intent to apply form outlying possible projects by Nov. 30. A more thorough application would then be due by Jan. 27, 2023.

“Revitalizing our communities starts with investing in the historic buildings that have long formed the backbone and character of our neighborhoods,” Hochul said in a news release today. “Restore New York funding gives localities the resources to transform abandoned and neglected properties into modern, 21st century buildings. By helping to rebuild and strengthen communities across the state, we will stimulate local economies and continue to build back New York better and stronger.”

Restore NY funding can be used for vacant, abandoned, condemned or surplus buildings. These properties can be demolished, deconstructed, rehabilitated or reconstructed. The grant allows up to $70,000 per residential unit.

Emphasis will be placed on projects in economically distressed communities, projects that leverage other state or federal redevelopment funds and the project’s feasibility and readiness, Hochul’s office said today.

There is up to $10 million for a “special project” that could include several properties.

The program is administered by Empire State Development and is designed to help local governments revitalize their communities and encourage commercial investment, improve the local housing stock, put properties back on the tax rolls, and increase the local tax base.

Grasso, during a presentation to the Village Board last week, said he submitted an application to the state for two electric charging stations in the village’s municipal lot on East Bank Street across from the village office.

Grasso and village officials also are looking at grant options for cyber security at the sewer plant, fire department equipment and recruitment, and records management. Grasso also is urging village officials and buildings owners in the downtown to consider projects in the future for the NY Forward program for downtown revitalization.