State legislators tour downtown Albion to see impact of Main Street grant

Photos by Tom Rivers: Natasha Wasuck, co-owner of The Lockstone, gives State Sen. Robert Ortt and Assemblyman Steve Hawley a tour of the wedding and events center. Wasuck and her husband, John Hernandez, have turned a former auto repair site into a destination site for Albion that also includes Tinsel, an ice cream shop.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 27 July 2021 at 11:24 am

ALBION – State Sen. Robert Ortt and Assemblyman Steve Hawley recently toured downtown Albion, including four of businesses that will be receiving part of a Main Street grant to help upgrade their historic buildings.

Albion was approved for $311,079 and that was divvied up among 10 property owners for building improvement projects. The grants will fund up to 75 percent of the projects, which need to be approved by the State Historic Preservation Office.

The state allowed a maximum award of $50,000 per building owner for non-residential projects with residential projects eligible for up to $100,000.

Assemblyman Hawley takes a photo with his phone while in the Pratt Opera House on the third floor. A state grant will help with some restorative work at the site.

Albion’s Main Street grant is for $388,192 total and that includes $311,079 for building renovations, $47,613 for streetscape improvements, $25,000 for administration and $4,500 for architecture, engineering and environmental costs. The property owners have until December 2022 to complete the projects as part of the grant.

Hawley and Ortt were given tours of projects planned for The Lockstone, the Pratt Opera House, apartments above the Hustl House (former Albion Fitness Center) and Krantz Furniture.

Ortt praised the property owners for their investment and commitment to Albion’s downtown. He and Hawley both said they are pleased to see state funds going to small-town business owners.

State Assemblyman Steve Hawley, left, and State Sen. Robert Ortt tour The Lockstone, which has been turned into a wedding and events center. A state grant will help the owners make additional improvements to the building.

The grants include:

  • The Lockstone – owned by John Hernandez and Natasha Wasuck at 160 North Main St., approved for $18,750 towards replacing a soffit, repairing masonry, putting in new front doors, commercial heaters and a mural.
  • Morrison Realty – owned by James Theodorakos at 132 North Main St., approved for $21,017 towards new flooring on the first floor, waiting the exterior and front trim repairs.
  • Krantz Furniture – Linda Smith, owner at 129-131 North Main St., approved for $64,776 to scrape and repoint brick, prime and paint the exterior, put in four commercial double doors, replace front stairs to upstairs apartment, replace windows, upgrade drywall and paint apartments, upgrade electric and plumbing.
  • Day and Day Building – Michael Bonafede and Judith Koehler, owner of 114-116 North Main St., approved for $36,880 for the site that includes the Downtown Browsery, Albion Bible Baptist Church, and the historic Grand Army of the Republic post. The work includes second floor renovation including reattaching the historic plaster medallions in the GAR room, restoring floors, installing a HVAC system. With the building, Bonafede and Koehler want to install steps and improve egress to the third floor door, weatherize east and west windows, construct protective railings around stairway, lighting, re-coat roof, repair and paint the fire escape, complete third floor bathroom, seal and preserve the historic plank west wall.

Michael Bonafede shows State Sen. Rob Ortt the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic) Room  in the Day and Day Building. Bonafede wants to reattach the historic plaster medallions in the GAR room, restore the floors and install a HVAC system.

  • Pratt Opera House – Michael Bonafede and Judith Koehler, owner of 118-120 North Main St., approved for $23,830 for the site that includes the Downtown Browsery, Bookery, Kylie’s Salon, Red Check Rustic, pottery studio and a bakery office. The funding will go towards recoating the roof, repairing east parapet east wall, re-installing vintage signage at ticket booth, new rear door, new entrance awning, repairing north brick wall, opera house stage renovations, refurbishing six arch-top decorative windows with stained glass.
  • Hair Fantasy – Corey and Marilyn Black, owners at 55-57-59 North Main St., approved for $11,250 to repoint and replace brick as needed, and repaint window frames.
  • Lyman & Lyman – Nathan Lyman, owner at 45-51 North Main St., approved for $38,277 for a site that includes Lyman & Lyman attorney offices, Laura Loxley, Milk & Honey Boutique and one residential unit. The money will go towards two ADA-compliant bathrooms, ADA entrance at back of the building, replacing back windows, new VFR cooling systems, upgrade electric, replace apartment flooring, new LED lights, improve signage, and upgrade residential bathroom.
  • Dance Reflections by Miss Heather – Jared and Heather Hapeman, owners at 50-52 North Main St., approved for $11,616 to go towards new ceiling in studio, 12 windows rebuilt in current frames, bathroom remodel and office remodel.
  • Albion Agencies (Seaway Insurance Agencies) – Bill Bixler, owner at 30 North Main St., approved for $16,753 to replace roof and make gutter repairs, rebuild side entrance stairs and upgrade HVAC.
  • Apartments above The Hustl House – John Brabon, owner at 10-12 North Main St., approved for $67,930 for five apartments, putting in new walls, electric, plumbing, HVAC, bathroom, drywall, trim and flooring, lighting, smoke detectors, and painting the apartments.
  • Village of Albion – approved for $47,613 for streetscape improvements at 19 North Main St, which includes extending existing retaining wall, adding parking spaces to municipal lot, picnic tables and trash receptacles.