LOHR McKINSTRY and DAN HEATH
ELIZABETHTOWN — Flooded-damaged areas, local movie theaters and communities needing utility upgrades are among the winners of funding secured through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council.
Essex County officials expressed joy Thursday at the news they had received $7.3 million in state money for projects.
Essex County Community Development Director Michael Mascarenas said he and County Board of Supervisors Chair Randy Douglas (D-Jay), who was at the grants ceremony Wednesday, could not have been more pleased.
Mascarenas said the state money provides “critical funds to our communities that make them viable and sustainable to live in.”
The Town of Jay will receive $54,460 to rebuild and expand Grove Park.
“Grove Park was heavily damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011,” Mascarenas noted. “As the town continues to rebuild from this devastation, the Grove was a project a long time coming.”
Douglas said this was the third time they submitted the Grove Park project.
“We couldn’t be happier that the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and New York state continue to help us rebuild,” he said by email. “We couldn’t do it without the added financial support.
“I am so very happy for our town. The grant for our youth facilities that were severely damaged from Hurricane Irene is so desperately needed to continue to provide quality recreational activities for the towns of Jay and Black Brook youth.”
Douglas said he sat there stunned when the grants were announced.
“We did fabulous. We couldn’t have been happier.”
The Appleby Foundation will receive $70,000 to modernize equipment at Hollywood Theatre in the Town of Jay.
Adirondack Film Society will receive $70,000 for a digital projector for the Schroon Lake Strand Theater.
The North Country Cultural Center for the Arts will get $78,000 for digital projection system for its Strand Theatre.
“We owe a lot of credit to Mike Mascarenas and his staff and to ANCA for putting in the grant for the Hollywood Theatre,” Douglas said.
“The Hollywood Theatre is such a landmark in our town. I am so thrilled that $70,000 will be granted to them to switch to digital.”
Since studios will not longer deliver movies in film format after the end of the year, digital projectors are a must for theaters that want to stay in business.
Motion pictures will soon be delivered to theaters on hard drives and plugged into the projectors.
Kate Fish of ANCA and her staff, Jennifer Jubin and Melissa Hart, put in the application for the foundation.
“I am so proud to lobby and support owners Cory Hanf and Sierra Serino in this costly endeavor to switch to digital film,” Douglas said.
Seagle Music Colony in Schroon Lake will get $118,100 for renovations.
General Director Tony Kostecki welcomed the funds, which will help with campus improvements as they prepare for their 100th anniversary in 2015.
“It was exciting to be on the priority projects list in the first place, and to have the funds come through is very exciting,” he said.
He credits the efforts of the council, especially Co-Chairs Garry Douglas of the North Country Chamber of Commerce and Clarkson University President Dr. Anthony Collins.
“They go above and beyond for all of us,” Kostecki said.
In another arts-related grant, Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake will receive $3,360 to fund internships.
The Village of Port Henry is getting $131,311 for streetscape and business renovations.
Pride of Ticonderoga Executive Director Sharon Reynolds said that group submitted the grant application for Port Henry and will administer the funds.
“This is very, very exciting,” she said.
In addition to facade restorations, funds can be used for internal improvements, such as furnaces and electrical systems.
The building owners are required to provide 50 percent of the cost of renovations, Reynolds said.
“That shows how committed these owners are,” she said, adding there is a tremendous group of volunteers working to improve the village.
Reynolds said the state’s approach to leave decisions up to regional councils is a positive change.
“I believe this money and the idea of regional economic development councils is really making a difference,” she said.
Several other communities received funding for infrastructure or utility upgrades:
▶ Town of Minerva Comprehensive and Facilities Plan, $50,625.
▶ Town of Moriah Waste Water Treatment Plant Study, $30,000.
▶ Town of Willsboro Waste Water Treatment Plant Study, $18,750.
▶ Village of Keeseville Waste Water Plant Study, $30,000.
▶Town of Ticonderoga Stormwater Project, $539,103.
▶ Essex County Cleaner Greener (partnered with ANCA and region), $1,939,668.
▶ Town of Newcomb, waterfront plan, $37,500.
▶ Village of Lake Placid, sewer replacement report, $30,000.
▶ Village of Saranac Lake, sewer upgrade report, $30,000.
“We were fortunate to get approval on several of the applications that submitted,” Mascarenas said of the Essex County Community Development Office.
“We put a lot of work into all of these projects and try to meet the needs of all our communities. I congratulate all the region for the success they have experienced and look forward to working with them again next year.”
Email Lohr McKinstry:firstname.lastname@example.org