City OKs plan to improve downtown

JOHNSTOWN – The Common Council on Tuesday approved a $200,000 state grant agreement to improve downtown. The city now will work with local businesses and property owners to see if they are interested.

The city in December was awarded a 2013 NY Main Street Program Grant through the Mohawk Regional Economic Development Council’s latest round of state funding. The purpose of the grant is to revitalize downtown by providing streetscape improvements and grants to owners on East and West Main streets to renovate their buildings.

According to the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Johnstown is receiving $200,000 to help the owners of downtown mixed-use buildings complete commercial and residential renovation projects.

According to the resolution approved by the council Tuesday night, the Main Street grant will pay 75 percent of streetscape improvements, up to $15,000, and the city will match 25 percent of the cost. In addition, the grant will pay for 75 percent of building renovations, and building owners will match 25 percent of the cost.

City Treasurer Michael Gifford said the office of city Fire Chief Bruce Heberer, also the city’s code enforcement officer, most likely will work with the businesses on proposed improvements. He said the city may put a cap set on the amounts allocated for building projects at about $25,000.

“There is an average cost per project,” Gifford said.

Grant for sewer plant

In another grant item, the council voted to publicly advertise for a consultant to help the city with administration of a Community Development Block Grant, which will be used to help pay for upgrades at the Gloversville-Johnstown Wastewater Treatment Facility.

Request-for-proposal forms are available in the city clerk’s Office at City Hall. The deadline for a written response is Feb. 17.

The city received word in 2009 that it was awarded the $750,000 Community Development Block Grant from the state Housing Trust Fund Corp.’s Office of Community Renewal.

The sewer plant is involved in a $7 million upgrade project for the sewer plant’s treatment process to deal with more waste products from the local dairy industries. Those industries include the Fage USA yogurt plant and the Euphrates cheese factory.

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