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Need $300 for COVID safety?

Saranac Lake seeks applicants for leftover business grants

Jenny Curtis uses a ultraviolet wand the Saranac Lake Free Library purchased with COVID-19 grant money to disinfect a book after it was returned Wednesday. Grant money for similar health precautions is still available for village businesses. (Provided photo — Chessie Monks-Kelly)

SARANAC LAKE — Earlier this summer, more than a dozen local businesses and organizations received $300 mini-grants to reimburse COVID-19-related upgrades to their spaces. Now, as cases of the virus spike in the Franklin County area, around half the money allotted for these mini-grants is still around, and the Saranac Lake Local Development Corporation is eager to give it away.

SLLDC Chairman Patrick Murphy, who also leads the local chamber of commerce, said the Adirondack Foundation connected the SLLDC with funding for the $13,000 mini-grant series in July. He said more than half of the funds are still left.

He said there are approximately 20 $300 mini-grants available to help retrofit business spaces for COVID-19 safety.

Funding also comes from the Saranac Lake Teachers Association and St. Regis Lakes COVID-19 Response Fund.

“If we don’t get more applicants, we might (raise) up the money to allow for some more bigger projects … but we want to do one last call to beat the bushes,” Murphy said.

LDC member Matt Scollin said they make the application process easy, adding that almost everyone who applied for money in the summer got it.

“A lot of people hear ‘grant,’ and their eyes glaze over,” Scollin said. “They might think it is going to be a very time-intensive process to apply for this. This is a one-page application. We really just want to try to get the money out the door to the businesses in the community that could utilize it.”

Murphy said 17 local businesses and other institutions have already received these grants. Pendragon Theater installed motion-sensor faucets and hand dryers, which are more sanitary since no one has to touch them. Historic Saranac Lake, which runs the Saranac Laboratory Museum, bought hand sanitizer and soap dispensers, and the Saranac Lake Free Library bought some ultraviolet light wands to disinfect books returned during this time.

He said the grants also cover things like personal protective equipment, clear plastic barriers and disinfectant.

“Whatever it is the need to open safely and to operate safely, we have money available for them to do that,” Murphy said.

The application has three questions: What does the applicant want to purchase, how much is it estimated to cost, and can they prove their business exists in the village limits?

Murphy said businesses can also use these grants retroactively to reimburse purchases on COVID-19 protections they’ve already made. He said receipts should be mailed to slldc@saranaclakeny.gov.

The grant application form can be accessed at https://forms.gle/y3oMpz288S1u2Fsp9.

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