Downtown grant meeting set

JOHNSTOWN – The city will conduct a public-information meeting about a $200,000 state downtown improvement grant at 6 p.m. Monday in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

The city in December was awarded a 2013 New York Main Street Program grant. The grant will be used to revitalize downtown by providing streetscape improvements and money to owners on Main Street to renovate their buildings. The program will be operated along East and West Main streets, between City Hall and William Street.

City Engineer Chandra Cotter said Monday’s session is required by the grant.

Cotter said city grant writer Nicholas Zabawsky, owner of Orion Management Co. of Amsterdam, will attend the session.

She said downtown property owners will be able to ask questions, and grant applications will be available at the session.

Funding for the program is being provided by the state Division of Housing and Community Renewal. It provides grants for property owners to fix facades, commercial spaces and residential units on upper floors of mixed-use buildings. City officials say the goal of the program is to revitalize traditional Main Streets, including historic preservation, create a pedestrian-friendly environment and spur commercial and residential redevelopment.

The program may award up to $50,000 per building, with an additional $10,000 per residential unit that’s repaired. The maximum grant amount a property owner can receive is $100,000. Owners must provide a minimum of 25 percent of the costs.

Work on exterior of the buildings must be completed according to historic standards. All project plans will be submitted to the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation for review and approval. The owner must agree to a five-year lien on the property, which restricts the historic character of the building and requires the grant to be repaid if the building is sold within the five years.

Michael Anich can be reached at