CAPE VINCENT — The Town Council’s effort to create a new municipal arena on Club Street will receive almost $850,000 from the state.
The project, an open marina with public docks, bathrooms, wireless internet and streetscape improvements, was awarded a $843,750 grant through the Regional Economic Development Council initiative last month.
Supervisor Edward P. Bender, however, said he questioned whether the town could use the grant funds. The village previously transferred a $250,000 grant for the project from the state Dormitory Authority to the town, and Mr. Bender said he was unsure about whether the town could use that grant along with the recent funds through the REDC initiative, allocated by the state Department of State.
Mr. Bender said he contacted the Department of State about the situation, but he did not receive a clear answer. He plans to contact the Dormitory Authority for clarification.
“I have to check on that,” Mr. Bender said. “As far as I’m concerned, (the new grant) would be really important because it would lessen our bond.”
The authority wrote in a background statement to the Times that its grant to Cape Vincent can only be used for costs that will not be covered by the Department of State grant and match components.
While the authority will have to evaluate the situation further, the town might be able to use both grants for the project, so long they are used for different expenditures associated with the overall project.
“The $250,000 grant cannot be used as part of the Department of State’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program’s (LWRP) match component; however, the grant may be, and only be, used towards costs outside of the LWRP grant funded and match component tasks,” the Dormitory Authority wrote in its statement.
The town board plans to demolish the marina behind Captain Jacks restaurant, previously owned by Village Shipyard Inc., and a home next door to build the new open marina. The board purchased the marina for $120,000 May 31 and the home for $60,000 in December 2018.
Mr. Bender, however, said the town might purchase another property to demolish for its marina project: Captain Jacks itself. The restaurant did not reopen for the summer this year, and Mr. Bender said structural issues with the building and the high water levels of Lake Ontario this year inhibited the owners from opening.
“The building’s not in good shape, and probably the kitchen and exhaust systems need quite a lot of repair,” Mr. Bender.
The previously bonded $600,000 for it, but it increased the amount to $1 million afterward for any unforeseen expenditures, Mr. Bender said.
“We don’t really have to use that much, but have to be able to use that,” he said.
Officials from the town and village have mulled over developing a new marina on Club Street for several years, particularly as Village Shipyard’s facility has deteriorated.
The town has been waiting for some grant funds before it hires a company to begin demolishing the buildings. Mr. Bender said it has been researching companies to select.
“Personally, I would like to see it done for the next two years,” he said.