October 24, 2021

County gets $3.3M in state grants

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Bill Bernheim of Homer walks along the sidewalk on South Main Street in Homer with his 1-year-old Willow, left, and Audrey, 4, while picking up Audrey from Homer Elementary School Tuesday. Homer will receive $200,000 for sidewalk improvements.

Roughly $3.3 million was awarded to Cortland County through this year’s Regional Economic Development Council initiative — down from last year’s $5.2 million — but it includes money for a Willet hop farm, sidewalk improvements in Homer and multiple projects in the city of Cortland.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that more than $763 million in economic and community development funding was awarded through the eighth round of the Regional Economic Development Council initiative.

“Central New York has done better than any of the regions,” said Garry VanGorder, executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corp. and Industrial Development Agency.

The Central New York region, which includes Cortland County, was the top awardee this year with a total $88.2 million awarded for 91 projects.

Among the projects is $500,000 which will go toward the renovation of of 83-85 Main St., Cortland, VanGorder said.

The building was part of a project list included last year in applications for a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which would have seen a movie theater brought to downtown. The project ended when private investors pulled out of the project.

Now new funding would see renovations to the building, but not a movie house. “The dollars are for rehab to the upper floors in the building,” Van- Gorder said.

Greater Cortland area grants

• $150,000 for the CNY Arts, Inc. Arts Marketing Campaign 2019 in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Onondaga and Oswego counties.
• $500,000 to redevelop of 83-85 Main St.
• $750,000 to replace water mains on Clinton Avenue.
• $200,000 for Cortland Microenterprise Assistance.
• $448,750 for the Tioughnioga River Waterfront Revitalization Program.
• $382,500 for Cayuga Lake watershed stream corridor and culvert rehabilitation.
• $382,500 for the Chesapeake Bay watershed stream corridor and culvert rehabilitation.
• $100,000 for Cortland County critical area road ditch stabilization and seeding.
• $375,000 for the Skaneateles Lake watershed stream corridor and culvert rehabilitation.
• $30,000 for the village of Groton wastewater treatment plant and collection system study.
• $200,000 for Walkable Homer sidewalk work.
• $100,000 to Willet Hop and Grain, LLC for the expansion of the hops farm.
• $49,500 for the CNY Arts & Artists in Public Spaces 2019 in Cortland and Onondaga counties.

SOURCE: Regional Economic Development Council

Money was also granted to help fund a plan to rehabilitate Clinton Avenue in Cortland, fund microenterprise assistance grants, and to help protect watersheds across the county.

Another $200,000 was awarded to the village of Homer to construct 708 feet of new sidewalk along Route 281 and to make repairs to 2,192 feet of sidewalks on South Main Street in the village to improve pedestrian access to schools.

“This is part of our goal to repair and replace as much of our sidewalk infrastructure as possible,” Homer Village Mayor Darren “Hal” McCabe said in a written statement.

The village is also waiting on a grant announcement for additional sidewalk funding, which would bring the village to about $1 million for sidewalk work.

“This will help us keep Homer a walkable, bikeable village, especially for our kids going to and from school,” McCabe said.

In Willet, Willet Hop and Grain, LLC received $100,000 to expand the farm. It’s an impressive business that has the chance to become more impressive, VanGorder said.

The grant initiative began in 2011. It clusters a variety of community improvement programs into one announcement, and adds a bonus to regions who work together to develop plans to exploit their strengths to create jobs, improve quality of life and develop the economy.