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December 12, 2013

 

6 projects awarded state cash

Latest round of economic development funding brings county $1.5 million

By STEVEN HOWE
Staff Reporter
showe@cortlandstandardnews.net

Cortland County will receive nearly $1.5 million in funding for six development projects, including the renovation of Wickwire Pool and the construction of the agritourism center at the new Byrne Dairy facility in Cortlandville.
The funding was announced as part of the state’s Regional Economic Development Council Awards, held in Albany Wednesday morning. The county, along with Onondaga, Cayuga, Madison and Oswego counties, is part of the Central New York region that received $66.9 million in funding.
The city of Cortland and Byrne Dairy were the big winners locally, each receiving $500,000 for projects.
Byrne Dairy received an Empire State Development Grant toward the agritourism component of the new yogurt facility being built on Route 13. The destination will include a working model farm, store, cafe, amphitheater and plant tours.
An Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation grant will cover half of the costs associated with renovating Wickwire Pool. This was the third year the city had applied for the grant.
Renovations for the pool, which was built in 1946, have been estimated at $915,000. The Wickewire Pool Trust Fund has received over $200,000 in funding, including two $100,000 state grants from the Community Capital Assistance Program and a Dormitory Authority Grant.
The remainder consists of donations, both large and small, from members of the community determined the keep the pool open and in working order.
Youth Bureau director John McNerney said he’s thankful the grant finally came through for the pool.
“Third time’s the charm,” McNerney said. “I’m very pleased.”
McNerney said that not many park projects received state funding this year. The community support also boded well for the fate of the application, he said.
“It doesn’t give us all the funds,” McNerney said. “It’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
While the Wickwire pool money was the headlining grant money for the city, it also received significant funding for study and analysis.
A $112,000 grant from the state Energy Research and Development Authority will finance a thorough analysis of the city code. The analysis will place special consideration on density and housing variety, as well as waterfront revitalization and development along the Tioughnioga River.
Total cost estimates for the zoning analysis are $150,000; the city would be required to match the remaining $38,000. When the grant was applied for, the city plan was to match that cost through in-kind services, such as committee and city staff time.
The city also received $30,000 in grant funding from the Department of Environmental Conservation to conduct an engineering study for the replacement of sewer lines along Clinton Avenue. Replacing the sewer is a piece of the city’s gateway corridor project.
The Cortland Line Company was the recipient of a $150,000 ESD grant to be used toward upgrading the company’s computers, material handling and drying process equipment. Cortland Line is expected to invest $685,000 in the improvements and the construction of a new climate-controlled room.
Outside of the city, the village of Homer received $200,000 in New York Main Street grants for streetscape enhancements and to assist three mixed-use buildings, all in the business district.
This is the third year the state has held the awards, which use a competitive format to bring regions together while they vie for state funding for various development projects. This year, Central New York finished sixth; in 2012 the region received $93.8 million, the second-highest total and took the top prize of $103.7 million in 2011. Long Island received the most funding this year at $83 million and the Southern Tier, which includes Tompkins and Broome counties, was fourth with $81.9 million.
Garry VanGorder, executive director of the Cortland County Industrial Development Agency and a member of the Central New York Regional Council, said that it was unfortunate to not be a top performer in the competitive process.
“As a council, we felt like we put good projects forward,” VanGorder said. “We’ll still be able to do some good with $66.9 million.”

 

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