Grant money available for renovations

New York Main Street Grant available to downtown property owners in Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake

Franklin County Local Development Corporation CEO Jeremy Evans explains the New York Main Street grant guidelines to a group of Saranac Lake downtown property owners in Harrietstown Town Hall on Tuesday. (Enterprise photo — Jesse Adcock)

SARANAC LAKE — There’s half a million dollars in grant money available to downtown building owners in Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake.

Through the Franklin County Local Development Corporation, $442,000 is available for interior and exterior renovations deemed “transformative” by the LDC. These will rated along five criteria: visual impact, commercial impact, residential impact, readiness and impact to local and regional plans.

The grant is limited to buildings in the downtown areas. There are 38 eligible properties in Saranac Lake, LDC CEO Jeremy Evans said, with a similar number in Tupper Lake.

The LDC was awarded the grant’s maximum amount for localities — half a million dollars — but around $60,000 is going towards administrative costs and program delivery, Evans said.

“There are expenses that are going to be required for any project — most importantly the environmental review that is required by the state to access these funds,” Evans said.

The maximum amount that can be disbursed to any one project through the program is $50,000. It can be used for a maximum of 75 percent of a project’s total cost. Project sponsors are required to have 10 percent of a project’s total cost on hand. The remaining 15 percent for a project may come from another source, such as a loan.

Additionally, the grant is awarded through reimbursement, so a project sponsor also needs to be able to front the cash or secure a loan to a complete a project.

“It might be one thing to come up with 10 percent cash equity for a project, but then to think about having to float the entire cost can be almost overwhelming,” Evans said. “However, what we’re working on is developing a bridge loan program.”

He said that if a sponsor could verify that it doesn’t have any source of funding other than the 10 percent equity, then the LDC will make a loan available so the project can be completed. If awarded, the deadline to start a project is June 1, 2020.

Projects that are ineligible include the purchase of property, replacement of historic architecture, new construction, general maintenance and site work such as septic systems and grading.

The application form is available online at www.franklinida.org/mainstreet. Applications are due 3 p.m. Monday April 8. Completed applications must be submitted online at https://tinyurl.com/y389ffuy.

A more complete list of program rules can be found at www.franklinida.org/mainstreet.

Awards will be announced later this April. Projects will be chosen by a yet-to-be-formed committee of Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake residents, and the Franklin County Local Development Board committee members.

For more information, contact Evans at jevans@franklinida.org or Saranac Lake Community Development Director Jamie Konkoski at comdev@saranaclakeny.gov.