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Naturally Lewis, Lewis County launch vacant-property revitalization program

By Eric Reinhardt (


Naturally Lewis and Lewis County are launching a vacant-property revitalization program, which will provide one-time grants to help pay for the renovation of vacant and “potentially unsafe or blighted” properties within downtown areas to make them commercially useful again. The photo above is an aerial view of downtown Lowville in Lewis County. (Photo credit: Naturally Lewis)

LOWVILLE, N.Y. — Lewis County business developers are starting a vacant-property revitalization program, a one-time grant program that seeks to provide “support, resources, and connections” for proposed projects.

Naturally Lewis, in partnership with Lewis County, is targeting vacant and “potentially unsafe or blighted” properties within downtown areas to turn them into “usable spaces for business-development opportunities,” according to an announcement from Naturally Lewis, the economic-development agency for Lewis County.

The Lewis County Development Corporation has about $1 million in funds for this program, which have been made available through the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and Lewis County.

“Downtown spaces are vital to our communities,” Lewis County Manager Ryan Piche said. “This partnership with Naturally Lewis and the strategic use of [ARPA] funds is giving us an opportunity to redevelop historical pieces of Lewis County and build modern spaces for today’s business leaders.”

Awarded projects will receive 50 percent of total project costs, up to $100,000 per project, in the form of a reimbursement grant.

Funding will be reimbursed to the property owner once agreed-upon milestones are met and the project is complete, Naturally Lewis said.

To apply for the vacant-property revitalization program and to read full program guidelines, visit The first round of program applications are due on April 7, Naturally Lewis said.


Requirements for project eligibility

Projects eligible for the vacant-property revitalization program must reduce blight, contributing to the economic recovery of downtown areas.

They also must be a vacant building and/or floor (currently unused, or unable to be used due remediation or construction needs)

In addition, projects must include renovation of commercial buildings resulting in occupancy through new business or residential (residential occupancy includes 2nd floors and above).

An eligible project must also be “financially feasible,” and show community benefit, such as increased tax base, job creation, or new business development, per the announcement.

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