Orleans EDA will pursue $500K grant for old Holley High School project

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 16 July 2017 at 9:37 am

ALBION – The Orleans Economic Development Agency called the effort to revive the old Holley High School for apartments and village offices a critical project on Friday.

The developers of the project were denied funding in the form of housing tax credits this spring by the New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

Home Leasing, developer for the project with Edgemere Development, is pursuing the state funding again this year.

The developers are looking for other state funding sources and shows of community support to make the case to the state for the bigger financial piece through Homes and Community Renewal.

The Orleans EDA agreed to pursue a grant on Friday for up to $500,000 for the project through the Environmental Protection Fund grant program for projects in Parks, Preservation and Heritage.

The funding is a matching grant for a property on the National Register of Historic Places. Home Leasing will pay the matching funds. The EDA will be the sponsor of the grant.

Home Leasing and Edgemere also will prepare and file the grant application.

“It certainly helps their project,” EDA attorney Kevin Zanner told the EDA board of directors on Friday.

Jim Whipple, the EDA chief executive officer, said the tax credits are ultimately needed to make the $17 million project a reality. The smaller state grants are also helpful.

“This shows EDA support and makes the story stronger,” Whipple said. “This is an important project.”

Revitalizing the old school, which has been vacant for about two decades, has been identified as a priority project in Holley’s comprehensive plan.

Home Leasing wants to turn the school into 41 residential apartments and offices for the village government. A restored auditorium would be used for meeting space. Developers said they will restore the historic building to its former glory as part of the project.

The school is located in the center of a historic district.

Kim Russell, executive vice president of Home Leasing, met with members of the Holley Village Board and Murray Town Board on Tuesday.

The company welcomes community letters of support as part of the funding applications.

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