LOWVILLE — Winners of the Winter Design Challenge helping to fund creative solutions to cold-weather operating obstacles faced by businesses due to COVID have been announced by the Lewis County Development Corporation, and another round of the funding opportunity has been set in motion.
All 12 businesses and organizations that applied in the first round were funded, for a total of $9,570 in grants. according to Brittany Davis, head of Lewis County Economic Development.
“What I think is really special is that we have businesses from Harrisville to Osceola — from one end of the county to another — who participated in this,” Ms. Davis said.
The goal of the challenge was to encourage tourism, entertainment and hospitality businesses to “think outside of the box” to survive the winter months as COVID-19 continues to put strain on these sectors.
“Warming stations” and outdoor heaters were prevalent in the approved projects and many grantees proposed increasing their outdoor seating capacity and alternative opportunities to take a break and warm-up from outdoor activities beyond the classic clubhouse setting.
Applicants with unique operations and business challenges came up with projects that uniquely fit those needs.
The owner of Boondocks Restaurant & Bar in Lyons Falls invested in the construction of a large event hall that could seat hundreds of people last year, however COVID-19 struck before its first prime event season. She applied for and was awarded a grant to transform the Three Willows event facility next to the restaurant into a buffet-style space with socially distanced seating.
Other restaurants that received grants included the Mystic River Café, Harrisville; Tony Harper’s Pizza & Clam Shack, Lowville; Tug Hill Vinyards, Lowville; and World Famous Osceola Hotel, Osceola.
Winter sports organizations that applied for and received funding to create “warming stations,” fireplaces and outdoor seating included the Great-Lot Camp in the town of Lewis; Osceola Ski & Sport Resort, Osceola; Snow Ridge Ski Resort, Turin; the Turin Ridgeriders, Turin; and the Southern Tug Hill Sno-Riders, West Leyden, who will construct an “outdoor destination” for enthusiasts of various sports in an abandoned tree farm.
The Lewis County Amateur Hockey Association will use its grant money to create a front desk kiosk “to ensure safety for staff and customers” and additional sanitation for surfaces and rental equipment.
After fundraising and making a significant investment in a new dining pavilion built in time for a summer camp season this year that would never be, nonprofit Oswegatchie Educational Center is planning two socially distanced family snowshoe events at the center with the help of the grant money.
The grants, which could be up to $1,000, are intended to cover half of the costs to put ideas into action,
With the $10,000 remaining of the $20,000 funding provided equally by the Pratt Northam Foundation and the Lewis County Development Corporation, new submissions will be accepted until Dec. 11 from businesses and non-profits in the county with a creative plan to ensure the safety of their customers and staff and some cash flow for the long winter cycle.
For more information and to apply for a grant, go to www.naturallylewis.com