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Canajoharie downtown improving look

December 7, 2008
By KERRY McAVOY, The Leader-Herald

CANAJOHARIE - Four buildings have been chosen to get a face lift as a part of the village's ongoing facade improvement project.

Picture Perfect at 5 Erie Blvd; Normans at 22 Church St.; Petty building at 53 W. Main St. and Macci Properties at 28-40 Church St. all have been chosen to be included in the 2008-09 phase of the project.

New paint, windows, storefront, signs and shutters are just a part of the ongoing project to bring back the glory days of Main Street.

Businesses such as Don's Electric and Plumbing, the Church & Main Restaurant and the Village Restaurant have all been improved as a part of this plan.

Design work is under way and research into the historic character of each building is ongoing. Complete designs are expected by February with construction expected to start in the spring.

Four other buildings that have already been chosen are expected to begin construction soon.

Jim's Irish Harbor at 20 Little Mohawk Street, Macci realty on West Main Street among others were all chosen for the fourth phase of the project and the call for bids was sent out Nov. 28.

Mohawk Valley Heritage Corridor Commission Executive Director Fred Miller said bids to do the work are due on Dec. 18 at 2 p.m.

"We have a list of between eight to 15 contractors showing interest, which is much more than ever," Miller said.

Contractors are encouraged to start doing as much work as possible during the winter months including purchasing energy efficient storefront windows.

The Mercato's Restaurant building located at 38 W. Main St. recently was completed. Work on the outside of the building began in April and included new windows and a brand new sign.

Miller said the restaurant owners will begin paying the village for their share of the costs this month. The cost of the project is split between the village and building owners to match the amount of the grant received.

Plans for other phases included a beautification project with new brick work on the sidewalks, new bushes, light posts and trees throughout the downtown area.

Cooperstown-based project consultant Dave Carlson also encouraged the village to seek water and sewer improvements with the next series of state grants available for this project.

Miller also encouraged the village to start thinking up ways to keep this new look going.

He was unaware, however, that plans to do that are already in place.

"We need to start thinking about keeping what we have," said Miller.

The village planning board has recently come up with plans to ensure that the new look of downtown stays that way.

The planning board has created an overlay district that will cut the center of the village into two sections: the village downtown core and the village outer core.

A set series of standards will be created for both zones and will focus on keeping the look of the downtown area as it currently is. This means properties must be kept within the standards and look of the areas around Church and Main Streets.

Strict codes must be kept to to keep the look of the buildings the same as those around them.

The project has recently received notice at the state level.

The Preservation League of New York State included the village in May during its Excellence in Historic Preservation Award in New York City.

Canajoharie's project stood out among a pool of 56 nominees for the awards. New Rochelle in Westchester County also took home one of the awards.

Kerry McAvoy covers Montgomery County. She can be reached at



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