Lake Flower Resort tries for federal grant

SARANAC LAKE — The Lake Flower Resort is applying for a federal grant through the village of Saranac Lake for an amount up to $750,000.

Jim Thatcher, the village’s consultant from C.T. Male Associates, explained the Community Development Block Grant at the village board meeting on Monday night. These federal grants are administered by states and given to local governments.

“One of the activities that is eligible under this program is economic development,” Thatcher said. “The reason the village is involved at all with project is that … this is a municipal program. The owners can’t apply for “this funding, but the grant can benefit them.”

The village intends to submit the application on or before Feb. 1, according to village documents. If approved by the state Office of Community Renewal, the village would give the grant money to the resort owners under terms of a separate contract.

“The real hook of this program is that for every $15,000 of assistance that the village may provide to the owner, one full-time equivalent job must be created,” Thatcher said. “This is new job creation — retention is not an issue here.”

If all $750,000 were funded, this would require 71 full-time-equivalent positions to be created at the resort. Thatcher said the resort owners have asked for the grant to help fund the purchase of furniture, fixtures and food service equipment in the resort, once built. He said the definition of what the grant money could be used for is broad, and could include the purchase of spa equipment, for instance.

In 2013 the Lake Flower Resort, under different ownership, secured a performance-based $2 million Regional Economic Development Council grant from Empire State Development. For those funds, total project expenditures must be equal or greater to $17.5 million.

The resort must provide documentation of 71 full-time permanent employees for the REDC grant as well. The funding would be dispersed once the spending and hiring benchmarks are met.

The resort will be built on Lake Flower Avenue where three motels were demolished this fall on the shore of Lake Flower.