EDA will encourage municipalities to seek state grants

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 December 2014 at 12:00 am

File Photo by Tom Rivers – The Village of Holley received the lone grant in Orleans County last year through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council. A $65,776 grant was approved for a canal park improvement project. Other nearby counties receive far more in funding through the council.

It’s become an annual rite in mid-December. Gov. Andrew Cuomo and state economic development officials announce hundreds of millions of dollars in grants for projects around the state.

Some small counties receive several awards. In Orleans County, it’s a short list. Last year there was one small grant: $65,776 to the village of Holley for a canal park improvement project.

Last week, the state announced $709.2 million in grants. It was another light showing for Orleans County with $81,500 approved for the Orleans County Marine Park along the Oak Orchard River in the Town of Carlton. Intergrow Greenhouses also was awarded $600,000 for “grow lights” and an electric supply upgrade.

Orleans County doesn’t get many grants, especially for the local towns and villages, because they typically don’t seek any funding. The Orleans Economic Development Agency wants to encourage the Orleans towns and villages to put together projects and pursue the funding through the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

The EDA’s Local Development Corporation has approved $10,000 to cover grant-writing costs for projects submitted by towns and villages.

“We want to encourage them to get some money in the next round,” said Gabrielle Barone, EDA vice president of business development.

Many other communities received grants for downtown business development. Livingston County, for example, was approved for $500,000 for Main Street revitalization projects for several villages.

In Genesee County, several municipalities were awarded grants. The City of Batavia was approved for $75,000 for a “Sustainable Batavia” initiative to update the city’s comprehensive plan. The City of Batavia also was awarded $200,000 to establish the Batavia Microenterprise Assistance Program for small business owners.

The Village of Alexander was approved for $30,000 for a wastewater infrastructure evaluation study. The Village of Bergen also was OK’d for $30,000 for wastewater collection system study. Another $30,000 grant was approved for an east side sewer study in the Town of Batavia.

The Genesee Economic Development Center also hit it big, landing a $1.5 million grant for a company to build a biogas plant at the Genesee Valley Agri-Business Park in Batavia.

The Orleans EDA plans to work with the Chamber of Commerce on the $10,000 initiative. The money will be passed to the Chamber, which will administer the funds to the local villages and towns.

Barone said the funds could be used for the municipalities to not only seek money through the regional council, but from other sources, including foundations.

“We’re hoping in 2015 we will see some funding for projects in a couple of our downtowns,” she said.