CANTON — Gov. Kathleen C. Hochul announced Monday that the village of Canton’s bid to redevelop the midtown plaza has been awarded $2 million through the Restore New York Communities Initiative.
The governor announced $112.9 million in grants for 70 projects statewide Monday.
According to the governor’s office, Restore New York grants aim to remove blight, reinvigorate downtowns and generate economic opportunity in communities.
In January, the village began preparing a grant application for $12 million for the project that would eventually house an entrepreneur center run by SUNY Canton, 45 market-rate apartments and retail space.
“We are asking for $2 million, which is the maximum we can request for a village of our size, but we are also asking for $10 million as a special project,” Canton Economic Development Director Leigh B. Rodriguez said in January. “They award only a few special projects throughout the state, but we feel like this has a good chance. It fits the requirements. So we will be requesting a total of $12 million.”
“Some very good things are happening in Canton,” Mayor Michael E. Dalton said Monday when he learned of the award.
“The $2 million is a key piece to this.”
Though the village did not get the special project grant, Mayor Dalton was not dissuaded.
“It’s all a process,” he said. “This $2 million is going to go a long way toward demolition, asbestos abatement and reconstruction,” he said.
The village agreed to purchase the six parcels of land that comprise the Midtown Plaza in March and closed on the property Monday for $1.28 million. Gary M. Cohen and Vernon L. Green owned the properties. Mr. Cohen, a New York City businessman, held the plaza and its parking lot since 1980. The space was once occupied by the Jubilee grocery store, which has been vacant since 2000.
Mr. Green owns a separate property adjacent to Mr. Cohen’s five parcels.
“This (closing on the property and the grant) makes the project much more attractive to developers.” Mr. Dalton said. “Our plan all along was to get the property back on the tax rolls.”
The plan is to raze the dilapidated buildings in the plaza and construct a new three-story building fronted on Miner Street with parking in the rear.
The first floor will be about 22,650 square feet. The SUNY Canton Entrepreneurship Center will occupy about 15,000 square feet of the first floor, with the rest available as commercial space.
The upper levels would have 45 residential units with one or two bedrooms.
The total budget for the project is $21 million. The college has secured about $4 million for the project.
“We see it as the college’s mission to be a partner in economic development in the community and in the region and to harness the power of our academic programs and our expertise on campus as well as the Small Business Development Center to promote entrepreneurship,” Lenore E. VanderZee, SUNY Canton’s executive director for university relations said in October 2021.
Mayor Dalton said Community Bank, which arranged to finance the property purchase and has a branch that backs up to the property, has supported the project.
“We did really well by them,” he said. “I think it was important to them. They have been a real part of our community.”
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