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Thu., Apr. 17
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Potsdam gets $200,000 for downtown renovations

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POTSDAM - The village has received a $200,000 New York Main Street grant to repair historic buildings and spruce up downtown.

Property owners with commercial or mixed-use properties will be able to apply for improvements this spring, and the construction work will likely begin in late spring or early summer.

“We’re pretty confident that we’ve got enough money there for four renovation projects,” Potsdam Planning and Development Director Fred J. Hanss said.

There are eight building owners in need of renovations on a wait list, but all will be welcome to apply as soon as the grant is finalized.

The village will examine all applications and help property owners mostly on a first-come first-served basis, Mr. Hanss said.

“We’ve got a list of buildings downtown that do need some work, and those are the folks that are on our waiting list,” he said.

Unsafe buildings in need of safety systems, emergency lights and electrical work will be prioritized, as will those in need of structural improvements.

According to Mr. Hanss, the state funds are important to help business owners maintain and improve the centuries-old buildings in downtown Potsdam, a task that may be too trying for private entrepreneurs.

“For a downtown property owner to be able to foot the bill for those can sometimes be daunting,” he said.

Potsdam last received a Main Street grant in 2005. The money fits into its longstanding mission of preserving historic locations.

“The village has been pretty single-minded in seeing those historic building in downtown potsdam, especially those on the national register, maintained and preserved over time,” he said.

Property owners will be able to attend a pre-application meeting, which will be open to the public, as soon as the details of the grant are finalized. After the meeting, the village will begin taking applications.

In addition to the building renovations, the village will use some of the money toward various downtown improvements. Bike racks will be installed, 22 trees will be removed and replaced, and new signs will be added to better mark streets and parks.

These improvements will start in the spring.

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