November 26, 2021

Nonprofits make pitches

Committee considers more ARP funding proposals

Kevin Conlon/city editor

Matt Fendya, Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds at Lime Hollow Nature Center in Cortlandville, points out plans to renovate a former sawmill at the nature center. The center is seeking federal funds from Cortland County.

Requests Monday and Tuesday from nonprofit groups for federal stimulus funding included building projects at a nature center, churches, the Cortland County junior fairgrounds, a downtown Cortland music venue and the Marathon Civic Center, and new sidewalks in Cincinnatus.

An ad hoc committee of Cortland County officials continues to hear presentations as they consider how to divide part of $9 million from the American Rescue Plan.

Cortland County will award up to $1 million to promote community development and improvements, and up to $1 million for business and economic development. The panel will hear the last of the presentations Thursday before making recommendations to the county Legislature’s Finance and Administration Committee. Other proposals were offered at earlier meetings.

Requests reviewed Monday and Tuesday include:

The True & Living House of Prayer:$5,000

The True and Living House of Prayer church in McGraw cannot reopen until its chimney is repaired. The church leaders are requesting $5,000 to fix the chimney and invite the community back into the building for church services, counseling, programs for children and activities for seniors.

Cortland Agriculture Corp.:$50,000

The Cortland Fairgrounds is in need of maintenance and upgrades, renovating the water lines, installing electric lines and a security system, said Cortland Agriculture Corp. President Jennifer Thomas. She requested $50,000 to renovate the fairgrounds to make it more usable for visitors year-round and bring more people to Cortland County.

“Our goal is to have more events for the youth of Cortland County as well as rent out the facilities for other events,” Thomas said. “The rental income helps with the cost of maintaining the facilities from year to year, but does not allow for major projects or improvements.

Grace and Holy Spirit Church: $118,000

The Grace and Holy Spirit Church in Cortland is requesting federal funds to benefit residents in need of food, shelter and safety. In 2016, a fire in the church resulted in considerable damage and loss from the fire and smoke. The entire basement space needed major repairs and still needs another $118,000 to finish renovations. The programs include Cortland Loaves and Fishes, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and a Salvation Army Warming Center.

Lime Hollow Nature Center: $127,200

The Lime Hollow Nature Center has requested assistance to jump-start its efforts to provide additional inclement weather-safe space for its summer camp and a new classroom space for the Onondaga-Cortland-Madison BOCES New Vision Program.

“It is the mission of Lime Hollow to provide year-round environmental education and recreation opportunities through the utilization and protection of natural and cultural attributes of the Lime Hollow area,” said Executive Director Glenn Reisweber.

Catholic Charities of Cortland County: $150,000

In order to continue operating its Pathways to Re-Entry program, Catholic Charities of Cortland County is requesting $150,000 for personnel costs and service expenses. Since the program first began in July 2020, 64 previously incarcerated people have received help and services after their release.

Services such as mental health and substance abuse counseling and transportation to doctors’ appointments, weekly check-in with case managers for goal planning and problem identification, and providing resources to get connected to public benefits.

Cortland Area Chamber of Commerce: $200,000

New York state’s eviction moratorium has been extended, protecting tenants from eviction who have not paid rent during the coronavirus pandemic. The Cortland Area Chamber of Commerce has multiple landlords who have requested financial assistance because of tenants not paying rent for many months.

The Chamber requested $200,000 to create a program that would help Cortland County landlords affected by the eviction moratorium, such as having tenants who maintained full income during the pandemic but took advantage of their landlord’s inability to enforce rent payments, said Chamber President and CEO Bob Haight.

Town of Cincinnatus: $200,000

The town of Cincinnatus requested funds to construct sidewalks and make the town more walkable for children and adults.

“During this past uncertain time, more and more community members are walking within our town — to school, the park, the Historical Society, the Kellogg Free Library, for shopping needs or just to walk around town,” said town Supervisor Luann King.

Village of Marathon: $250,000

Village of Marathon Mayor William McGovern requested $250,000 to replace the 50-year-old siding on the exterior of the village’s Civic Center building, where the wood is rotting and the stone is eroding.

“This structure is costing us money, and as every year goes by it just degrades more and more and there’s more work that we have to do,” said McGovern.

The building is heavily used for many village-wide events such as the annual Maple Festival, weddings, senior and veterans affairs and more, McGovern said. “It’s not just for village people, it brings people in from all over — it’s basically a revenue and sales tax generator for the county.”

Rose Hall: $375,000

In an effort to help make Cortland County a regional music destination, Rose Hall on Church Street in Cortland requested funds for restoration and repairs to become an indoor music venue capable of hosting national touring music acts for audiences of over 200 people.

Building upgrades are required to host performances on that scale, including a freight elevator and passenger elevator for disabled visitors, a new stage platform and upgrading seating for cushioned theater seating and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant seating platforms.