Future downtown Gloversville projects discussed

The Downtown Gloversville Business Improvement District Board of Directors on Tuesday considered ideas for future projects or programs that can be introduced to improve downtown and will send out a survey to BID members for further suggestions. (The Leader-Herald/Ashley Onyon)

GLOVERSVILLE — The Downtown Gloversville Business Improvement District will seek input from property owners within the district on future projects or programs that can be introduced to improve downtown.

During Tuesday’s meeting, BID Board of Directors President Jim Schlesier brought up an ongoing discussion he has been having with Councilman-at-Large Vincent DeSantis, who sits on the board, over the need for the not-for-profit organization to give back to BID members.

“One of the things we do hear from the BID members is ‘What am I getting from being in the BID?’” Schlesier said. “Vince said that we need to start giving back to the BID and I agree with him completely. So we want to look at ways that we can do that.”

Schlesier noted that he and Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings met with Department of Public Works Director Dale Trumbull to discuss the possible addition of benches or other seating downtown, asking the board for other suggestions.

Schlesier got the ball rolling by proposing a beautification program, similar to a grant program, that would give downtown property owners the opportunity to apply to the BID for funding for facade improvements that the owners would have to match.

DeSantis agreed that making physical improvements downtown should be a focus, suggesting that the BID program could be paired with a Consolidated Funding Application by the city for a New York Main Street grant through the Office of Community Renewal.

DeSantis said the state will pay 50 percent of the cost of facade improvements to downtown buildings through a Main Street grant, requiring matching funding to provided by property owners.

“In the past we’ve had a hard time [getting] building owners to do the other 50 percent,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis suggested the BID offer downtown property owners about 5 percent of the cost of facade renovations to encourage program participation. Letters of intent from building owners would need to be included to demonstrate interest if the city submitted a CFA for a Main Street grant.

“That would require some real coordination and planning,” he added. “This wouldn’t be until 2020 probably.”

DeSantis pointed to keeping the streets and sidewalks clean downtown as another important area of focus for the BID.

“I think that there ought to be something about keeping the streets and the sidewalks clean, getting the weeds out of the cracks in the summer, getting the snow removed in the winter,” said DeSantis. “I’m sure that DPW would be willing to really partner with us in that, but to upgrade the snow removal, the clean sidewalks, the cleanliness of the downtown is one thing and the other thing is the physical improvements.”

He also recommended that the BID gather input and suggestions from downtown property owners who fund the organization.

“I really think that we should have a survey or send out some kind of a survey to property owners because they are the ones that are paying the freight here, to say what would you benefit by for the BID to do and get their ideas,” DeSantis said.

The board supported the idea and Schlesier, DeSantis and City Clerk Jennifer Mazur agreed to work on a brief survey to send out to property owners later this year.

To improve the cleanliness of the sidewalks and parks downtown, Brandon Rowback suggested the BID fund the purchase of several dog waste stations.

The waste stations include rolls of individual bags for dog owners to clean up after their pets and then dispose of the waste in an attached receptacle. Rowback presented an option for just under $200 that includes 400 eco-friendly dog waste bags and a trash bin with liners.

Rowback said he’s seen many dog owners walking their pet downtown without cleaning up after them and making the necessary materials easily accessible might encourage dog owners to pick up after their pets.

“That’s one of the biggest problems walking down main street,” Rowback said.

The board voiced their support for the idea and Rowback suggested the BID purchase three waste stations to be placed near the Palace Diner on South Main Street, New York Lunch on Bleecker Street and in Castiglione Memorial Park.

The board approved a motion authorizing the purchase of the three dog waste stations, hoping to have them installed before the end of the year depending on the weather.

By Patricia Older

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