Grants give Medina properties a facelift

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 13 May 2013 at 12:00 am

Photo by Tom Rivers – This home at 204 West Center St., Medina, was one of 17 houses in the village to receive matching funds for improvements through a grant administered by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce. The $200,000 grant also provided money to 11 businesses for façade and sign upgrades.

MEDINA – Kathy Blackburn drives down Main Street and some of Medina’s residential streets, and she sees new signs for businesses, fresh paint on buildings, and new siding and roofs.

And more of those projects will soon be tackled, with the prospect of more improvements next year.

Blackburn, executive director for the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce, is administering a $200,000 grant that provides matching funding for the projects that are all in the village of Medina. An anonymous funding entity is paying for the grant, and that entity will likely continue a second round in December, Blackburn said.

The grant has paid for $121,000 worth of work on 17 houses and $68,000 for 11 businesses. Some of the projects have been completed, and others will soon get under way, Blackburn said.

More than 50 applicants sought matching funds through the program after it was announced in November. A committee reviewed the proposals.

“We would have liked to do more projects, but you only have so much money,” Blackburn said.

The committee included Medina Code Enforcement Officer Marty Busch, a contractor, investor, banker and accountant.

The group was focused on projects that would have the biggest impact for “curb appeal,” Blackburn said. The grants were capped at a maximum of $20,000 per property.

The grant program is expected to be focused on the Medina area again if a new funding round goes forward, Blackburn said.

“This project pulled at your heart strings because it is helping some people stay in their homes and do work they couldn’t have afforded on their own,” she said.