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Hammondsport gets $432K in state grants

September 29, 2010

Hammondsport, N.Y. —

A state grant will help spruce up the streets and businesses surrounding Hammondsport’s village square next summer.

The Hammondsport Chamber of Commerce was recently awarded a grant for approximately $432,000, said John Jensen, Chamber president.

The funding comes from the New York Main Street grant program, administered by the state’s Office of Community Renewal.

The grant includes about $340,000 for upgrades to nine buildings in Hammondsport’s downtown area, officially known as the Pulteney Square Historic District.

There’s also $60,000 earmarked for signage, lighting, benches, sidewalks and brick walkways on public streets near the square, Jensen said. Another $32,000 will pay for the hiring of a consulting firm to administer the project and handle the permits needed because the area is a registered historic district, he added.

The Main Street grant will be supplemented by about $130,000 worth of matching funds the building owners have agreed to contribute to the various projects.

It’s a fairly large grant for a small village to get, Jensen said, and it should make Hammondsport more attractive to the tourists that flock to Keuka Lake and its wineries during the summer and fall, he said.

“We’re really excited about it, because this represents probably half the buildings in our downtown,” Jensen said. “So it’ll make a significant positive change.”

Most of the projects are for exterior work, such as brick and facades, roof work and handicap accessibility. There are also plans for rear entrance improvements and a brick walkway along the alley behind Shethar Street, where plans are in the works to add arts-related attractions.
The grant money will also help renovate upper-floor apartments, and the Chamber building will get a community room upstairs for public use.

“I think the grant is a great thing for the Village of Hammondsport. It’s going to be something that will help refresh the village itself, and also put forth a better look for everybody. I think everybody’s looking forward to it,” said Hammondsport developer Jim Keena, who owns more than a half-dozen downtown buildings.

One of the buildings Keena owns is the old opera house at 59-67 Shethar St., which has three businesses – Mudlust Pottery, Lake Country Patchwork and Opera House Antiques – on the bottom floor.

The Main Street grant will go toward things like brick and roof work, along with HVAC and plumbing upgrades for the former opera house.

He’s in the process of building five luxury apartments on the second floor, and there are plans to turn the upper floors into a space for art shows and music.

“We’ve put a whole bunch of money into the village so far, trying to dress it up and make it what it really should be,” Keena said. “I think we have a wonderful village here, and I think people will enjoy it, both the tourists that come, as well as the people that live here.”

Other businesses whose buildings figure to get upgrades include Locey’s Landing, Mossy Bank Mercantile, Crooked Lake Ice Cream Parlor, Mahogony Butterfly, Park Inn and Lime Berry.
The necessary paperwork will bedone this this winter and construction work will hopefully begin in the spring, Jensen said.

The Main Street grant program provides funding and technical assistance “to business improvement districts and other not-for-profit organizations that are committed to revitalizing historic downtowns, mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts, and village centers,” according to the state Office of Community Renewal’s website.

Copyright 2010 The Corning Leader. Some rights reserved
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