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Businesses slow to return project plans for Massena’s Main Street Grant

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MASSENA - While the deadline for downtown business owners to return their plans for utilizing their share of the village’s $250,000 from the New York State Main Street grant program was earlier this week, local economic development officials said they’re still optimistic that more plans will be received in the days ahead.

“We’re hoping there will be some in the mail tomorrow,” Massena Business Development Corporation Executive Director Thomas J. Sullivan said. “Follow-up calls have been made to made.”

Mr. Sullivan said that project scopes for four projects were returned by the deadline. He noted 14 information packets were sent to local businesses that expressed an interest in participating in the grant, with business owners being reimbursed a portion of the costs associated with their projects.

With $250,000 available to distribute between the 14 businesses, Mr. Sullivan said the size of grant received by each business will depend on the cost of their project.

Mr. Sullivan noted that with the Fourth of July holiday passing recently and summer vacations, many businesses may not have yet found time to complete the scope of their projects.

“We should be receiving some more this week,” he said.

Businesses participating in the program are required to match whatever funds they receive.

Should the entire grant be used, that would translate into a minimum investment in downtown of $500,000, although many business owners have pledged investments above and beyond that amount.

Earlier this year, former BDC Executive Director Jason A. Clark said downtown business owners have pledged an investment in downtown of more than $1.9 million.

When those pledged are added to the $250,000 grant, Mr. Clark said downtown Massena was looking at a total investment of $2,173,5000.

“This project is still ongoing,” Mr. Sullivan said, adding that once project scopes are received they will be reviewed by the BDC Board, prior to being rolled into one project and the initiation of the design phase for this portion of downtown revitalization.

“We’ve got a lot of activity, and there’s some momentum going along with that,” Mr. Sullivan said.

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