MASSENA — Village of Massena officials are applying for grant funding to assist with the startup of a value-added dairy business on Water Street.
Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire said they looked for the “best funding mechanism” for the business and opted to apply for the New York Main Street Downtown Anchor Program.
The funding can be used to establish and expand residential opportunities and business anchors, foster small business development, stimulate reinvestment, enable adaptive reuse, address the Americans with Disabilities Act, address code enforcement issues, energy efficiency, and to preserve and revitalize downtown, mixed-use key anchor properties.
The grant is up to $500,000, with a minimum 25 percent cash match provided by William and Susan Fiacco, owners of the investment firm GoCo Ventures LLC.
The proposed business will be operated at 37 Water St. The funding will be used to restore and make improvements to the building.
“Their plans are a value-added dairy business that would have a storefront, but also be shipping out,” Mr. LeBire said. “We’re very, very confident in the GoCo venture people. They have a very solid idea, very good background. I’m excited for this venture.”
According to a resolution passed by trustees to authorize the grant application, “The Village of Massena Board of Trustees have demonstrated support of the revitalization of commercial and residential properties that make up the downtown. The village of Massena has initiated a coordinated effort to revitalize the downtown core, administration of several Restore NY Program projects and support of NYMS Facade and Downtown Anchor projects. The award of a 2019 NYMS Downtown Anchor grant will be an important facet in efforts to realize the downtown revitalization goals.”
The resolution notes that the owners of GoCo Venture LLC “have expressed an interest in utilizing this funding to make building improvements.”
During the village board’s June meeting, Mayor Timmy J. Currier said the project was among those that were included as part of their Downtown Revitalization Initiative application which, if secured, would mean $10,000 for the village.
He said Mr. and Ms. Fiacco were looking at converting the structure in the downtown core to a value-added dairy plant that would make dairy products like ice cream on location and ship them out.
“They’ll manufacture everything right there,” Mr. Currier said in June. “It’s a new business for them.”
The Fiaccos are also turning the Old Mill, 38 Water St., into a brewery and pub on the main floor, as well as two apartments in the 11,365-square-foot building. The village received $978,000 in Restore New York funds in March 2018 for that private-public partnership to renovate the grain mill, which was active in the late 19th century.
The Old Mill was selected as part of Round 5 of the Restore New York state funding, passed in the 2017 state budget. The funding went to communities across the state, with a particular emphasis on economically distressed areas.