Holley takes next step in brownfield grant

By Kristina Gabalski, Correspondent Posted 15 February 2017 at 10:02 am

Village also presses for more state AIM funding and bank for community

HOLLEY – Village Board members on Tuesday evening took the next step in the process to obtain grant funding under the State Department of State’s Brownfield Opportunity Areas (BOA) Program, which provides financial and technical assistance to municipalities for turning dormant and blighted parcels into productive, catalytic properties.

Trustees voted to authorize Mayor Brian Sorochty to submit an application to the BOA program for a Step 2 grant. A public hearing was held on the application prior to the vote.

The village is seeking a grant not to exceed $200,000 for the development of a Nomination Study. A scope of work was prepared by the village with the help of a steering committee as part of the grant application process.

The scope lists eleven tasks including the preparation of a Nomination Study for the BOA with an updated existing conditions analysis; a Community Participation Plan; a Light Industrial Market Analysis and Strategy; a Residential Development Strategy; and Future Land Use and Conceptual Designs which focus on strategic sites identified in the Step 1 Pre-Nomination Study. Those sites include the former Diaz site; 51 State St.; the site of the former (Save-A-Lot) grocery store; 89 Public Square; and the old Holley High School.

“With significant investment potentially occurring at the Village of Holley High School site, public interest in the future of the Diaz site and the community’s support for a revitalized downtown public square, active and continuous community engagement will be imperative to ensuring recommendations are consistent with the community’s vision and goals,” the Scope states.

In other business Tuesday evening, Orleans County Legislator Ken DeRoller addressed trustees, bringing them up-to-date on a number of issues.

DeRoller noted infrastructure improvements at the county level which include ongoing bridge and culvert repairs totaling $33 million; the efforts of a lobbyist hired by Orleans County to, “make our message known,” on a state level; and the NYS Department of Transportation’s plan to spend $13 million for canal bridge improvements in Orleans County.

Trustee Connie Nenni asked DeRoller if the county’s lobbyist might be able to help with an effort to get the state to overhaul its AIM (Aid and Incentives to Municipalities) funding for villages and towns. Currently 90 percent of that money goes to cities.

“It’s something to take a look at,” DeRoller said. “Sales tax allocations are starting to erode, but AIM is the target we need to go after.”

“It would be fantastic if we could get even half of what the cities get,” Trustee Skip Carpenter said. Additional AIM funds would help villages and towns with projects like sidewalk and street repair, he noted.

DeRoller also brought trustees up-to-date on efforts to find a new tenant for the former First Niagara Bank branch in the village’s Public Square.

Petitions in support of the effort are still available around the community – at the Village Hall, local businesses and town offices in Murray, Clarendon and Kendall.

“We are in a bank desert,” DeRoller said of the east side of the county. He has been working to reach out to players in the marketplace and said the petitions will provide additional “leverage” in the effort by showing there is an interest in having banking services available in the village.

Village Clerk Deborah Schiavone said there has been a “very good response” to the petitions.

DeRoller said Key Bank has the lease on the building until September and that, “a couple of parties are interested in purchasing the property…. it’s taking time, but everybody’s working on it.”

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