POTSDAM — Renovating and revitalizing the village’s historic downtown is in high demand.
Frederick J. Hanss, Potsdam’s planning and development director, is working on an application for funding through the New York Main Street grant program seeking $215,000 to be supplemented by $100,000 in private funds to renovate four substandard, mixed-use or commercial buildings downtown.
When he solicited applications for the 2019 round of funding, he received more applicants than there was grant funding.
“So we started a waiting list of buildings, where the owners wished to participate and we also did some additional outreach work,” Mr. Hanss said. “So at this point I have seven buildings, I think, that have committed to come through the program and I probably will be able to assist four or five of those.”
According to the grant program’s website, it is meant to provide financial resources and technical assistance to communities to strengthen the economic vitality of the state’s traditional Main Streets and neighborhoods. It provides funds to units of local government, and not-for-profit organizations that are committed to revitalizing historic downtowns, mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts, and village centers.
“What the program can do is it can offer grant funding up to 75 percent of eligible repair costs, not to exceed $50,000 and those funds can be used for building renovation purposes,” he said.
As part of the 2019 round of applications, Mr. Hanss said it is anticipated that at least three of the four buildings will be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
“Some of the buildings that we’ve worked on in the past are listed on the Historic Register, others are not,” he said. “Those that are listed on the national register we have to apply to the U.S. secretary of the interior for the treatment of historic buildings.”
The village has to consult with the state Historic Preservation Office and get guidance from them on how to renovate the building, which could include recommendations on the type of materials that may be used and the labor practices that may be used.
According to livinplaces.com, the Market Street Historic District includes the entire, extant, 19th-century commercial section along two blocks of Market Street, the principal thoroughfare, and one block on the south side of Raymond Street, an adjacent side street. Boundaries were drawn to encompass this commercial area, and to exclude the outlying modern intrusions. The Market Street Historic District consists of 27 buildings dating from 1820 to 1900.
Grant assistance has already been given to several historic buildings, including the Arlington Building, located at the confluence of Main and Market streets.
Windows in the historic Ives Building, located at 45-47 Market St., are scheduled to be replaced later this month as a result of a previous grant through the program.
“In previous phases of the project we did window replacements in some of the big national register buildings that we have downtown. Most recently, the village has provided New York Main Street assistance to the North Country Children’s Museum with the completion of the installation of a new heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, new electrical wiring and a roof over an existing handicap access ramp.”
A notice to bidders was also released for the exterior masonry and roofing at 17 Maple Street from the previous round of grant funding.
“That’s an historic masonry building and the masonry has collapsed,” Mr. Hanss said. “The building itself is in very poor condition.”
The Cactus Grill, 11 Raymond St., is one of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places seeking grant funding in the newest round of applications.