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Canton seeks state funding for Main Street projects

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CANTON - Commercial property owners within the village of Canton’s historic district have the chance to obtain $50,000 in funding through the state’s Main Street grant program.

Village officials plan to apply for $200,000 through the state’s Office of Community Renewal’s 2013 round of funding.

If the village is successful, it would distribute the funding to eligible commercial property owners.

Each building owner applying for funds is eligible to receive $50,000 or 75 percent of the project cost, whichever is less.

At the village board’s July meeting, trustees authorized Economic Development Director Linda M. McQuinn to submit the grant application which is due by Aug. 12.

The funding helps businesses upgrade their buildings to improve the appearance of Main Street, promote business creation or retention and create housing units in upper-floor building spaces.

The village received similar grant funding in 2006.

Mrs. McQuinn said the funding can be used for things like upgrading facades, replacing windows and doors and creating housing units in commerical buildings.

“Downtown is a mixed use. It’s very helpful to the downtown business district to have housing on the second floor and commercial businesses on the street level,” she said.

So far, four Main Street property owners have said they’re interested in applying for the funding, Mrs. McQuinn said.

Those include Mayor David P. Curry. who would like to renovate the upper level of his bar, Dave’s II, 37 Main St., into an apartment.

His second-floor space has its own bar and is rented out for private parties, but Mr. Curry said he’s not booking enough gatherings.

“I’m looking at renovating it into an apartment because people aren’t using the room enough,” Mr. Curry said Thursday. ”We need more student housing in Canton, and this would be a way to provide more housing downtown.”

The owners of Sergi’s Restaurant, 31-33 Main St., Nature’s Storehouse, 21 Main St., and James M. Snell, owner of 7 Main St., are also interested in applying for the grant money.

Mr. Snell purchased his building at the corner of Main Street and Riverside Drive in January and rents the lower space to the Canton Church and Community Program and the St. Vincent DePaul’s Society. Both agencies operate thrift shops at the site, while the church and community program also runs a food pantry.

He said he’d like to find a tenant for the 5,000 square-foot second floor, but so far he’s only received calls from people who want to rent the space for an apartment. An elevator connects the first and second floor.

Receiving grant money would allow him to renovate the upper levels into one or two handicapped-accessible apartments, he said.

“I have a lot of interest for apartment space,” Mr. Snell said. “That’s what all the calls have been for.”

Commercial property owners interested applying for the grant funding should contact Mrs. McQuinn by Aug. 1 at 386-2871 or by email: developer@cantonnewyork.us. More information about the grant can be found at www.nyshcr.org/Programs/NYMainStreet.

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