Lexington seeking grant for arts center

JOHNSTOWN – The Lexington Foundation is hoping for a grant to help pay for a more than $2.5 million arts center that would be built in Fulton County.

The foundation, the fundraising arm of Lexington, the Fulton County Chapter of NYSARC, this week asked the Fulton County Board of Supervisors to apply for a New York State Housing and Community Renewal grant.

Lexington Foundation Executive Director Wally Hart asked a county committee to bring a resolution to the full Board of Supervisors to apply for the grant. The application is due June 30.

Members of the county committee approved sending the resolution to the full board.

The grant would help pay for the proposed Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, Hart said.

Lexington has no formalized plan or location for the center yet, but Hart said a team is working on it.

Lexington envisions a community center for artists and musicians from Lexington’s homes and the community. The facility also could be used for other purposes, he said.

Lexington is considering a music space, gallery space and convention space for the facility, along with space for a possible cooking class.

The center could employ about 25 people, Hart said.

The center could be about 10,000 square feet and cost between $2.5 million and $3 million, Hart said.

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In total, $7 million is available for Mohawk Valley applicants from the state grant.

The county wouldn’t find out until November whether it receives any of the grant money, Hart said.

Because of regulations, a nonprofit organization such as Lexington cannot apply for the grant. That is why the foundation is asking the county to seek the grant.

Hart has worked closely with Nick Zabawsky, a grant writer with Ryan Management, to handle the application.

Without the grant, Lexington may not be able to build the center.

Jon Stead, Fulton County administrative officer and clerk of the county board, said the center looks like a worthwhile project, but he wanted more information about the project.

Hart said no county money would be involved in the grant application.

The Fulton County Board of Supervisors may discuss the resolution Monday and then schedule a public hearing.

“If we can land it and make it work right, it will probably be one of the … things in Fulton County that will make it a destination, as opposed to a drive- through,” Perth Town Supervisor Gregory Fagan said.