City board supports grant

JOHNSTOWN – The city Planning Board recently formally supported the city’s application for a $200,000 state NY Main Street Grant to revitalize downtown in various ways.

The board voted Tuesday at City Hall to issue a letter of support for the effort, signed by Chairman Peter K. Smith. The grant is due to be submitted soon.

The Common Council in July hired Orion Management Co. of Amsterdam for $3,000 to prepare the grant application. Officials said the grant could assist with downtown streetscape and building improvements. Grant writer Nicholas Zabawsky is preparing the application. The proposed grant would pay 75 percent of streetscape improvements up to $15,000 per project, with the city matching 25 percent toward improvements. The grant also would pay 75 percent of building renovations, with building owners matching 25 percent toward improvements.

City Engineer Chandra Cotter told the Planning Board that Zabawsky is seeking “letters of community support” from certain municipal entities, which may assist the city in landing the grant. She said the city’s Tourism/Special Events Committee wrote a letter of support. Cotter said she asked the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce to write such a letter, and the Johnstown Historical Society plans to write its own letter to accompany the application.

Cotter said interest in taking advantage of the grant – if it comes to fruition – already is being expressed.

“We’ve gotten three [downtown] building owners already that have signed letters,” she said.

Those building owners indicated they would be willing to commit to 25 percent matching funds toward improvements.

Zabawsky previously told the council the city needs to identify a target area to improve. He said the city can take photos and document sidewalks, street lights, benches and tree areas that need improvement, as well as sections of buildings needing rehab. He also suggested a public office be set up at City Hall if the grant is received.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at