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Economic development projects awarded state funding

Thursday, December 19, 2013 - Updated: 12:08 AM


For the C-S-E

In rattling off the major economic development projects awarded state funding Wednesday, it took Amsterdam Mayor Ann Thane a second to put her finger on the last.

It’s a good problem to have -- all of Montgomery County’s priority projects, and then some, are set to receive funding under the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council’s designation as a “top performer” at the state’s annual project award ceremony in Albany.

“I’ve been working with the council since it started three years ago, and to finally get the big prize, it’s very rewarding,” said Thane. 

The Mohawk Valley council will receive $82.4 million in grants, tax breaks and capital, and nearly $4.5 million is dedicated to Montgomery County. The council was one of five to get additional funding in its award package. 

“Our region and the Capital District were the last two to get the ‘top performer’ designation, and I’m obviously pleased it happened this time around,” said Montgomery County Economic Development and Planning Director Ken Rose.

The bulk of the funds are geared toward the city of Amsterdam, including $1 million for a senior housing project on the South Side, nearly another million dollars to retrofit its downtown hotel, and $600,000 for the fourth phase of its sewer system improvements.

Best of all, it’s mostly capital dollars.

“That’s huge for us,” Thane said. “In the past [awards], projects have gotten a lot of tax credits or loans. But this time, it’s capital dollars, and that’s what these businesses want, and it’s what the city certainly wants when making our infrastructure improvements.”

The village of Fultonville scored $400,000 for a flood mitigation project, and several upcounty projects also fared well, including a waterfront campground in St. Johnsville, and a brewery in Fort Plain.

Posing Montgomery County’s 12 awards against the more than 40 for Oneida County, Thane half-joked she’d rather have the problem of listing as many in the latter. 

Some of the major projects awarded there include $3.25 million for continued development of the Marcy Nanocenter, and $5 million for Utica’s Harbor Point project.

“But, I don’t envy them, because it’s part of our region, and their projects will be truly transformational for our entire region,” Thane said. 

She said the nano project is particularly promising, because it creates a triangle of nano-centered locations between Marcy, Albany and Malta.

“We’re right in the center of it,” Thane said. “It will have impact. It will take time, but it will.”

Rose said he has no cause for complaints.

“We got everything we asked for,” he said.

The following is a breakdown of Montgomery County’s projects:

-- Hampton Inn and Suites project in Amsterdam, will receive $880,000 in Empire State Development grants toward a $5.8 million plan to transform the America’s Best Value Inn. The project will create 25 jobs, and retrofit the existing 125-room hotel with an indoor pool and waterslide.

-- Deer Run at River Ridge in Amsterdam is recommended to receive $1 million in Empire State Development grants. The $20.75 million project is expected to create 70 jobs.

The 120-bed assisted living facility includes plans for four three-unit senior housing complexes to be built next to the existing skilled-nursing facility. The land is already purchased, and buildings would afford all the required modern amenities, according to the council’s report.

-- GIANT Solutions in Amsterdam’s Clock Tower will receive two awards -- a $30,000 grant and $50,000 in Small Business Assistance funds. The engineering firm will expand and upgrade its network test equipment for wireless providers, and create two new positions.

-- Mohawk Lifts in Amsterdam will receive $250,000 to create nine jobs in its $3 million project, which seeks relocation a mile away from its current 1910 factory.

-- Village of Canajoharie water system improvements, $600,000, Community  Development Block Grant funds to implement improvements to the local water system. The project will benefit 2,208 people, 53 percent who are low- and moderate-income. 

-- Village of Fultonville flood mitigation project, $400,000 in grant funds to install flood control gates and two drainage culverts that extend under the state Thruway. 

-- Mohawk Valley Tourism Waterfront Development is a resort and campground facility proposed at the site of the former St. Johnsville Industrial Park near the Mohawk River. The $1.5 million project would create 20 jobs, and is recommended to receive $200,000. 

The council’s report says the grounds will have 125 sites consisting of riverfront, cabins, deluxe pull-through and back-in sites, as well as tent sites. Amenities will consist of family-style bathhouses, laundry facilities, and riverfront area for recreational use. 

Plans also have two large playgrounds, outdoor field games, a state-of-the-art horseshoe-shaped swimming pool, hot tub and splash park. The main building will house an eatery named Old Lock 33, after the original Erie Canal lock, and will also include hands-on educational exhibits for tourists to learn about the history and culture of the area, as well as an area for indoor games. 

-- St. Johnsville Marina expansion, $150,000 for improved services, including construction of a bathhouse to supplement the Erie Canal RV Resort & Campground proposal.

-- Erie Canal Distillers was endorsed to receive $10,000. The $184,700 project calls for the creation of 15 jobs, and the use of an existing manufacturing facility in Fort Plain.

The following projects were approved in Fulton County:

-- The town of Broadalbin received $500,000 for the development of a park off Route 29. The 29-acre site will be developed to provide a wide range of recreational facilities, including baseball, softball and soccer fields and a basketball court. Other facilities will include a pavilion and playground area, access roads and parking.

-- The city of Johnstown was granted $200,000 to assist owners of mixed-use buildings to complete commercial and residential renovation projects along Main Street.


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