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Localities receive $1.8M in grants

August 29, 2009
The Leader Herald

By KAYLEIGH KARUTIS, The Leader-Herald

Four local communities have received $1.8 million in Community Development Block Grants, which are intended to help them make infrastructure improvements.

Gov. David Paterson's office announced the grants Friday. The largest went to Fultonville, which received $600,000 for its public sewer system.

Fultonville Mayor Robert Headwell said the village's sewer sustained $1.3 million in damage during floods in 2006, and village officials had been fighting to receive some money to help with repair efforts.

The village tried to obtain a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, but the village's efforts had proven unsuccessful. Village officials then decided to apply for the state grant.

"It's reassuring that this organization agrees that we have damage to our sewer system," Headwell said.

Headwell said the village is hopeful it will receive additional money through the Community Development program that would help pay for the remainder of the sewer damage.

In Johnstown, city officials are celebrating the announcement of a $400,000 housing rehabilitation grant that is on its way from the state. The city applied for the grant four months ago through the Fulton County Community Heritage Corp. after the city's initial bid for the funding was rejected last year.

The grant will provide funding to city residents who are income-qualified and demonstrate a need for housing rehabilitation. Approximately 13 to 15 single-family homes are expected to be repaired.

Johnstown Mayor Sarah Slingerland said the work done will be significant and not cosmetic. She said an example of a person who might qualify is a senior citizen on a fixed income who is able to stay in his or her home but does not have the money to fix a structural, electrical or other serious problem.

"This money will help a lot in upgrading homes in the city," Slingerland said.

She said there are a lot of older homes in the city that are in need of repairs. She said the grant will help the city combat blight. "We're thrilled we secured it. It's much needed," she said.

Treasurer Michael Gifford said the CHC will examine applicants and choose residents who will receive the funding after the city receives a formal award letter from the state.

Two other municipalities won grants through the program. The village of Fort Plain will receive $400,000 for housing rehabilitation, while the city of Amsterdam will receive $400,000 for public facilities.

Leader-Herald reporter Zach Subar contributed to this report.



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