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Medina businesses are hopeful for $300K Main Street grant

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 17 October 2015 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Main Street in Medina was blocked off for a classic car show on Sept. 2.

The Medina Business Association is pursuing a $300,000 state grant to assist building owners with projects.

MEDINA – Downtown Medina has enjoyed a rebirth in small businesses in the past decade with many new shops opening and building owners making big investments in their historic buildings.

Caring for an older building brings with it continuous challenges and expenses, from roofs, infrastructure and façades.

The Medina Business Association is trying to assist building owners by pursuing a $300,000 Main Street grant from the state. Those matching funds could be used for a range of projects, including creating residential space in the downtown.

The state is expected to announce the grant winners in December.

The Medina Business Association polled its members and about $1 million in projects were identified. The association considered seeking the maximum $500,000 grant, but opted to scale down its grant request to $300,000 to improve its chances of securing some money in the state program, said Kathy Blackburn, executive director of the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.

If the MBA is approved for the grant, the Chamber would administer the funds. A committee of community members would review proposals from building owners to determine which ones are approved for the grant. Blackburn said a committee already is in place through Medina’s façade program. The same group would review the downtown projects if Medina is successful with the grant.

Building owners would need to front the money, and then get reimbursed for half the cost. Some owners who expressed interest in the grant may not want to be in the program because of the upfront expense. Blackburn said the Chamber and MBA will see who can commit to the grant projects if the funds are approved for Medina.

Albion and Holley have both received Main Street grants in recent years that resulted in work on several downtown buildings as well as streetscape improvements.

In addition to Medina’s grant application, the Orleans Economic Development Agency is seeking state funds for a downtown rental assistance program that would make rent cheap for businesses in the first six months.

“It helps the businesses get on their feet,” Blackburn said.