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Main Street grant helping to spruce up downtown Massena

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MASSENA - A $250,000 grant from New York State’s Main Street Grant Program is being used to spruce up downtown Massena.

Work began recently at Hutchinson’s Tax Service, and in the near future there may be work ongoing at three downtown storefronts, Business Development Corporation for Greater Massena Executive Director Thomas Sullivan said.

“We have signed contracts from two and later this week I’m hoping for two more,” Mr. Sullivan said, adding Studio 162 has also signed a contract to begin renovations in the near future.

By the time the project is complete, Mr. Sullivan said up to seven downtown storefronts could be revitalized.

“This is a shot in the arm for our Main Street,” he said. “It’s nice to see these projects moving forward.”

Mr. Sullivan said the amount of grant each business will receive varies based on the work they are planning to do, but he said grant allocations are capped at $50,000, with no more than 75 percent of a project eligible for funding, meaning that each property owner is also investing some of his or her own money into downtown Massena.

“I think it is a very positive step forward that they are willing to invest some of their own money in order to receive grant money,” he said. “In these difficult economic times, they are being proactive.”

David Hutchinson, who has operated Hutchinson’s Tax Service out of a Main Street storefront since the mid -1990s, said the decision to invest in Massena was an easy one to make, given the availability of grant funds.

“I decided to go for it,” he said. “I get quite a bit of it reimbursed back to me.”

Given that he’s approaching retirement age, Mr. Hutchinson said now was the time to put some money back into his business.

“I’ve had the building for a good many years, and it needed some improvements, he said. “I’m approaching retirement age, so I decided to do some improvements for down the road when I decide to sell the business.”

The bulk of the work at Mr. Hutchinson’s business is a completely new facade.

“We’ll see what it looks like when they’re done. I’ve got a general idea, but I know it will be an improvement,” he said.

Mr. Sullivan said as additional property owners finalize their contracts, he can announce their participation in the program.

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