Mohawk region awarded $81.9 million in economic development funds

David Karpinski, executive director of the Parkhurst Field Foundation,said the $500,000 award will bring his organization one step closer to its $2.3 million plan to redevelop the field. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

GLOVERSVILLE — The restoration of historic Parkhurst Field received a big boost Thursday with a $500,000 state grant that is    part of $81.9 million awarded to the Mohawk Valley region at the Regional Economic Development Council awards.

In all, the state doled out $717 million to New York’s 10 regional economic development councils.

Mohawk Valley’s $81.9 million award was the third highest. Only the Mid-Hudson region ($83.3 million) and Capital Region ($83.1 million) received more.

The $81.9 million in state funding will be distributed to  88 different projects in the Mohawk Valley region’s six counties: Fulton, Herkimer, Montgomery, Oneida, Otsego and Schoharie.  Five projects in Fulton County and 10 in Montgomery will get $5.9 million of that funding.

David Karpinski, executive director of the Parkhurst Field Foundation, stated the grant money will bring his organization one step closer to its $2.3 million plan to redevelop the field, where baseball greats such as Honus Wagner once played. It’s also the only field left in America where Moonlight “Doc” Graham, featured as a character in the movie Field of Dreams, played baseball more than 100 years ago.

“We are pleased that NYS and the Economic Development Council have chosen to support our development project with this grant. Historic Parkhurst Field, rebuilt as a destination for travel baseball teams, will bring thousands of people each summer to the area, can be the centerpiece of an economic revitalization of the region and creates a jewel on Harrison Street, the gateway to downtown Gloversville,” Karpinski stated in a news release. “We envision 15 to 20 teams per week playing here during the non-Little League season, bringing over 300 families per tournament and a $1.8M economic impact annually to this region,”

For the third time in two years, the Gloversville Public Library received a $500,000 grant. Last year it received $1 million in funding from two grants. All three grants are aimed at assisting with the library’s restoration project.

Three other Fulton County projects received funding: the Hales Mills Road Water Infrastructure project, $250,000; Nathan Littauer Hospital’s Caroga Primary Care Facility project, $46,000; and the village of Broadalbin’s effluent disinfection project, $30,000.

Ron Peters, the Fulton County Regional Center for Growth president and CEO, said Fulton County received funding for five out of the six projects his organization submitted to the state. Peters said the sixth project would have been another round of microenterprise funding, a program his organization already has two active grants for from past years.

“We had asked for more money with some of the projects, but it was cut back a little bit. I think we would have been about $2.5 to $3 million [if we had gotten the full amount],” Peters said.

Peters said the $250,000 in funding for the Hales Mills Road Water Infrastructure project is a key part of Fulton County’s plans for economic development.

“That’s an economic development district for us and we’re considering that a prime spot for future development,” he said.

Last year, during a much bigger $1.5 billion round of economic funding, Fulton County took home $8.5 million in grants for 16 projects, awarded among 92 total projects funded from the $100.3 million given to the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Council.

Montgomery County

Despite having about 5,000 fewer residents, Montgomery County took in more grant money than Fulton County, receiving $4.5 million. The funding was distributed to 10 different projects, the top five largest of which were: $1.5 million for the Florida Business Park extension project; $900,000 for the villages of Fonda and Fultonville joint sanitary sewer improvement projects; $671,575 for the project to relocate the Montgomery County DPW facility out of the floodplain in Fonda into Fultonville near the Montgomery County jail; $500,000 for the the Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency project to upgrade the electrical service in the Edson Street Park; and $500,000 for the city of Amsterdam’s Sanford Clock Tower renovation project.

Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort credited his county’s success in part to the $1.5 million grant given to the Florida Business Park to help facilitate the $91 million Dollar General distribution plant project, which he said met the state’s criteria for wanting a five-to-one ratio of private to public dollars, and to Montgomery County’s decision to change to a county executive form of government, which he said enabled him to be a full-time advocate for his county’s projects.

“We didn’t get absolutely everything we wanted, but we’re overall very pleased because there were a number of big-ticket items that were funded. We got a good piece of what we were asking for,” Ossenfort  said. “Staying very engaged with the process and building relationships over years, staying involved with the Regional Council and with our assemblyman, our senator and directly with the governor’s office all really helped with this.”

Another grant Montgomery County received was $85,000 to help pay for technical and market analysis of the potential for redeveloping the 26-acre former Beech-Nut plant in Canajoharie. Ossenfort said he’s confident Montgomery County is going to receive a $500,000 restore New York grant to help with the cleanup of that location.

“The [$85,000] is more for some of the legwork that needs to be done, and we’re certainly pleased about that. We asked for $100,000, we got $85,000, so that was a win for that particular project,” he said.

Up for grabs

Nearly half of the $83.3 million awarded to the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Council remains unallocated for specific projects, with $30 million available to businesses in any of the region’s counties in the form of low-cost economic development financing in the form of federal industrial development bonds, and $11 million available in the form of excelsior jobs program tax credits.

Peters said there is still plenty of opportunity for local businesses to tap into those funding programs.

“Those are pools of money that will now go to the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Council, which will now be looking to solicit projects for those two sources of money. That will be in the future. Counties will be able to apply to those sources over the course of the year,” Peters said. “We’ll be working with the council to see what their guidelines are and we’ll start submitting projects based on that.”

By Chad Fleck

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