Downtown properties get grants

JOHNSTOWN – Seven downtown property owners will receive grants to make improvements.

The Common Council on Monday approved the recipients of the NY Main Street Program Grant funding.

The city in December was awarded $200,000 in state funding through the Mohawk Regional Economic Development Council. The purpose of the grant is to revitalize downtown via streetscape improvements and building renovations. The money helps owners of downtown mixed-use buildings to complete commercial and residential renovation projects.

A Project Selection Committee used project selection criteria to determine which qualified applicants would receive the grant money.

Grant funding was broken down this way: $150,000 to go toward building renovations; $15,000 for streetscape improvements; $15,000 for administrative services; and $20,000 toward contingency.

Among the largest awards was one for former Councilman-at-Large Bryan Marcucci. He received a $31,850 award for his property at 18 W. Main St.

Marcucci and his family have been trying for several years to open a proposed Black Tie Pub N Brew microbrewery and restaurant business at 18 W. Main St. He and his son-in-law, Jim Rockwell, have been working on the building since 2010.

Marcucci said today he hasn’t given up on the plan yet, but is having trouble getting loans for his project, especially through the U.S. Small Business Administration. He said the property is empty now, but he hopes if he renovates the building, the project may come to fruition.

“We’re going to fix up the downstairs and try to move forward with the project,” Marcucci said.

Orion Management Co. of Amsterdam was hired by the city earlier this month as a consultant for the grant.

The grant pays 75 percent of streetscape improvements, up to $15,000, and the city matches 25 percent of the cost.

In addition, the grant pays for 75 percent of building renovations, and building owners match 25 percent of the cost. Selection criteria announced earlier for the projects includes ones that were visually prominent, have historic value, reduce blight, involve renovation of upper-story residential units, leverage the most private investment, create jobs, address code violations, and house businesses providing essential services to the community.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.