Gloversville supports joint grant effort

GLOVERSVILLE – The Common Council informally voted Tuesday to pursue a grant jointly with the city of Johnstown to improve the cities’ downtown areas.

“I think to be able to agree on this grant shows we are working together,” Mayor Dayton King said. “We want to build jobs here, and I am excited anytime we can work together to build our economy as a whole.”

The council took a straw poll at City Hall and unanimously decided to have city Department of Public Works Director Kevin Jones work closer with City Engineer Chandra Cotter to secure the grant.

“I’m in favor of partnering with Johnstown,” First Ward Councilwoman Robin Wentworth said.

King and members of the council attended a recent session at City Hall about a possible joint application between the Glove Cities through the state’s Brownfield Opportunity Area Program. The cities are considering applying together for a possible $400,000 grant that would pay for a development study for both downtowns. At the session, Bergmann Associates said it would work with the cities to pursue the best options for a joint grant.

The representatives of Bergmann said the Brownfield Opportunity Area Program is “one of the most powerful planning programs in New York state.”

Both sides walked away from the presentation feeling more informed and confident about a potential joint effort, officials said.

The grant is 90 percent state-funded and 10 percent locally funded, including possible in-kind services.

The Brownfield Opportunity Area Program provides money to help develop areas that may be difficult to work with because of environmental hazards.

Some of the things the grant could be used for include: future land use and master planning, environmental review and investigation to develop site profiles, regulatory updates or zoning analysis, feasibility studies, highest- and best-use studies, infrastructure analysis and capacity studies, and marketing and branding activities.

The Brownfield grant wouldn’t pay for bricks- and-mortar work, environmental cleanup and remediation, purchase of environmental insurance, land acquisition, and direct subsidies to private entities.

Jones said the area the cities would look at would be right along the Cayadutta Creek and along North Perry Street into South Main Street. Since there are mill sites in both cities to connect that area, it would make the joint effort a “smooth transition,” he said.

Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland said the obvious place for her city to start would be a study of the Main and Perry streets area.

Jones said the two cities would look together at a site about 1,000 to 1,400 acres in size.

Jones said he and Cotter now have to do some work such as organizing material before the cities can formally pursue the Brownfield grant.

Jones said Bergmann has told him the joint application fee would be about $10,000 to $12,000, to be split between the two cities.

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