Upgrades on the way

Trustees approve application in bid to improve building facades

OBSERVER Photo by Jimmy McCarthy Fredonia Mayor Athanasia Landis, right, explains the New York Main Street Technical Assistance Grant during Monday’s meeting. Trustees approved an application to the state for technical assistance to hire a company to talk to buildings owners in the downtown business area about possible facade improvements. The technical assistance is the first step in hopes to obtain a grant that would cover 75 percent of a building owner’s cost to improve their building front. Pictured at left is Village Clerk Richard St. George.

With intentions to improve downtown Fredonia, trustees on Monday approved to submit an application to the state for technical assistance funding that’ll ultimately position the village for potentially more funds to help building owners improve their facades.

Fredonia Mayor Athanasia Landis said the village is going after a grant that will help building owners improve their storefronts. The grant, through the NY Main Street Program, that the village is trying to obtain would pay 75 cents to the dollar for improvements.

In order to get to that step, Landis said the village needs to submit an application for funds in order to hire a company to go and speak with building owners about the possibilities they have to improve their buildings. Through the New York Main Street Technical Assistance Grant, the state would supply $20,000 and the village would provide $1,000 to do so. The grant requires a municipality to select a target area they’d like to hone in on for improvements. Following a discussion, trustees decided to target the village’s business district in the areas of Eagle and Water streets. Trustees unanimously approved and endorsed the village’s application to the state.

“The ultimate goal is the beautification of the village, to upgrade their facades and raise the building values,” Landis said.

The mayor said the difficult part of the process will be finding building owners and getting their support. Landis said there’s no obligation at this point from building owners to put forth any money. Through the technical assistance grant, Landis said it will help explain what exactly would be involved.

“We don’t need their commitment (yet),” Landis said. “We just need their interest only for the technical assistance portion of the process.”

Landis also said the village will need to get the support from businesses as well in order to obtain the final grant. Landis said the villages of Westfield and Olean have applied and received funds several times. Landis acknowledged the village could keep going after funds each year to improve other areas.

The state Office of Community Renewal administers the New York Main Street program, which provides resources and technical assistance to communities to strengthen the economic vitality of the state’s traditional main streets and neighborhoods. Funds aren’t available for building demolition or new construction.

In other matters, the village board approved the Farm Festival Committee’s request for use of the East and West Barker Common and gazebo for the 50th annual Farm Festival from Aug. 23-26. Trustees also promoted Steve Manos to assistant inspection officer and hired Todd Songer, of Westfield, and Seth Lecceadone, of Randolph, as full-time provisional cadets in the Fredonia Fire Department.