Downtown Geneva revitalization continues

Downtown buildings on Exchange Street and Castle Street may be seeing a major face lift as eight property owners and ten projects have been selected to receive over $200,000 in funding awarded to the City of Geneva through the NYS Office of Community Renewal’s New York Main Street (NYMS) program, with additional funds contributed by the Geneva Local Development Corporation and the Industrial Development Agency. “The decision process was difficult, because there were 18 strong applications all worthy of this funding. The selection committee did a very thorough review of each application, and the City is pleased to continue contributing to the revitalization our Uniquely Urban Downtown,” said Sage Gerling, Director of the Office of Neighborhood Initiatives. The selection committee was made up from a representation from the Local Development Corporation, Industrial Development Agency, BID, City, and a retired contractor. A rigorous scoring criterion was conducted on each of the applications, with façade improvements with a physical impact to the community playing a large roll with the committee’s selection. Projects such as façade improvements, new commercial space for new and existing businesses, and energy efficiency improvements were among those selected. The award amount granted to each property owner totals the lesser amount from either the award amount or the percentage of the project cost. The fund is a reimbursement of invested dollars that the property owners must fund initially, but most property owners will receive a 42 percent reimbursement. The City hired Thoma Consulting (through an RFP process) to conduct the grant administration and the projects will be completed in 2014 and 2015. Of the $200,000 awarded by the NYMS program, $185,000 of the funding will go towards specific projects including soft costs and $15,000 will be used for grant administration. In addition, the Geneva Local Development Corporation and the Industrial Development Agency contributed $25,000 each toward the program. Of these additional funds, $45,000 will go into specific projects, bringing the total amount used for project costs to $230,000. As an added bonus, $5,000 of the additional funds paid for complimentary design services to enhance applications for any applicant from InSite: Architecture. NYMS program priorities include projects that are visually prominent and include significant façade renovations, stimulate the economic revitalization of mixed-use business centers, projects that result in job creation, include renovation of upper story, residential units, projects with historic value or historic properties in danger of being lost in part or in total to disrepair or damage, projects that with the assistance of grant funds will reduce blight, contribute to the economic recovery of the target area, or realize a stabilization or expansion of a Main Street business. Awardees will have until July 9, 2014 to commit to the NYMS Program.

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