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BLDC gets $250K state grant for downtown Binghamton improvements

By Journal Staff


BINGHAMTON — The Binghamton Local Development Corporation (BLDC) announced today that it received $250,000 in funding through the 2012 NYS Main Street Grant Program for downtown Binghamton improvement projects.

The grant money, issued by the New York State Housing Trust Fund Corporation’s Office of Community Renewal (NYSOCR), will be used by BLDC to administer a matching grant program for projects to improve and preserve the visual image of the city’s downtown historic mixed-use districts, according to a news release from the Binghamton mayor’s office. Projects will include commercial façade improvements as well as new and modified interior residential and commercial development. 

About $15,000 will be allocated for a streetscape project to improve the area known as “Commercial Alley” running from Court Street to the State Street parking ramp, according to the BLDC.

“With the help of the NYS Main Street Grant, the BLDC and the City of Binghamton will be able to leverage private investment and activity in the commercial sector to create opportunities for affordable housing, and to increase the walk ability of the city,” Merry Harris, BLDC’s executive director, said in the release.

The NYS Main Street Grant program is part of the state’s consolidated funding application engineered under Gov. Andrew Cuomo to allow more efficient reallocation of state resources for local community development through input from regional councils, the news release said.

This is the second round of competitive funding the BLDC has received under the Main Street program, it said. In 2008, the BLDC was awarded $200,000 in Main Street Grant funding from NYSOCR, and administered 30 revitalization projects, including improvements along Washington Street between Hawley and Court Streets, and at the intersection of Main and Front Streets. The project spurred an additional $460,000 in private investments and produced over a dozen jobs for local contractors, engineers, and design companies, the BLDC said.

The target areas for the 2012 NYS Main Street Grant will include Chenango Street between Court Street and Henry Street, Henry Street between Chenango and State Street, and State Street between Henry and Lewis Street.

The BLDC will be hosting a free workshop on the grant program at the Broome County Public Library at 185 Court St. at 5 p.m. on March 21.

The workshop will provide information about the specific criteria for the grant as well as additional benefits such as historic tax credits, NYSERDA energy audits and energy-efficiency incentives, and the Downtown Revitalization programs administered by Southern Tier Regional Economic Development.

The BLDC is now accepting request for qualifications (RFQs) from local contractors to bid on projects proposed through the 2012 NYS Main Street Grant Program.

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