SPRINGVILLE — New York state Senator Patrick Gallivan announced, on Dec. 21, that 14 59th Senate District projects have been awarded economic development funding, as part of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative.
In addition to the $829,120 awarded to the Springville Center for the Arts’ projects at 37 North Buffalo St. and 5 East Main St., the village of Springville also received a $250,000 Main Street grant, for its downtown revitalization project.
According to SCA Executive Director Seth Wochensky, Springville’s $250,000 grant was awarded by the New York State Homes and Community Renewal’s Rural Area Revitalization Program. This organization also administered part of the funding awarded to the SCA’s two local projects.
Springville Mayor Bill Krebs said that the village hired a grant writer to assist in the application process. Village administrators worked with the Springville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Springville Downtown Economic Development Group to explain to local business owners what a grant of this nature offered. Business and building owners were asked to submit letters of intent, which could be used to help with the grant application.
“We’ve been looking to apply for a Main Street grant for a few years,” Krebs said. While this grant previously required a designated anchor property, which would receiving a majority of the funding, changes were made in the past year that did away with that requirement.
The Main Street grant award will be used for interior and exterior renovations to 26 commercial and three residential units, according to Gallivan. “We had a very strong application,” Krebs said. “Some people have commented that we received this because we’re economically disadvantaged, but that’s not true. These grants are not given to areas that cannot help themselves. They are given to assist assets that are already in the area. The retail section of Springville is very strong. Retail businesses bring people to Springville.”
A portion of the funding has been designated for streetscaping in the village center. Krebs said that $15,000 will probably be spent on redesigning the pocket park at the corner of Mechanic and Main streets. “The impetus to do that was because the Western New York Southtowns Scenic Byway has given us a pedestrian sign we’d like to locate there,” he said. Joy Kuebler Landscape Architect PC is working with the village on plans for that park.
“We are meeting with the chamber and historical society and the downtown economic development group to run plans [for the park] by them,” Krebs said. “We are going to improve it; run walkways through there and put in some landscaping, without removing the trees.”
Krebs pointed out that Springville already received $6 million in federal assets, earlier this year, with the People Inc. senior living facility that is being erected on Waverly Street in Springville. “Springville has been moving along,” he said. “Investments are being made. That’s good news. That makes us very competitive, as a center in the Southern Tier.”
The village-administered grant will be dispersed, by a local committee, to local businesses. According to Krebs, participating merchants will have to pay for work themselves, and will then be reimbursed with grant money.
“Everybody in Springville should be happy that these grants came from the Western New York Regional Council,” Krebs said. “That’s five WNY counties. Springville is right in the middle of that area. That council said, ‘Springville is a viable village center. The money that we invest, through these grants in Springville, will not only help Springville, but also help the Western New York region.’
“People recognize that Springville is a viable place to invest money. We wouldn’t have gotten these grants, if we weren’t.”
Krebs said that he is encouraged by the funding appropriated for Springville. “There are many good things happening, as far as economic development in Springville,” he said. “We must stick together, as a community.”
Gallivan said, “Economic growth and job creation is priority No. 1 in Western New York and I am pleased to see this new process continue to bear fruit for Western New York and its future.”
More information will be printed in a future edition of the Springville Journal.