Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Middleburgh Announces Recovery Program

The Village of Middleburgh has launched several new projects included in a program intended to erase much of the damage of Irene. By working on these since April, the Village has been able to start the following:
- Through a Main Street Block Grant, $150,000 is being distributed to various businesses on and around Main Street. About twenty businesses are benefiting from the NYS grant money, with amounts ranging from $1,300 to $10,000. Trustee Sheryl Adams worked with the Schoharie County Planning Department to complete the project.
- Middleburgh is offering $50,000 in loans of one percent or less out of the Small Cities Block Grant. All businesses affected by the flood are welcome to apply to the Village for the loans, which will be distributed by a need basis. This was the brainchild of Trustee Bob Tinker.
- $10,000 from the Small Cities grant money will be set aside to encourage any new businesses, especially a grocery or pharmacy.
- A dramatic Main Street renewal project. $22,500 from the Main Street Grant will be used for new benches, garbage cans, flags, and other beautification works such as signs, flowers, flags, and the like. The following year, the Village plans on reworking many of the sidewalks along the business district. A new mural under the supervision of Trustee Bill Morton is expected on Main Street by next summer.
- A full time VISTA volunteer from SALT will be acting as an intern at the Village office. Working 40 hours a week, this volunteer will specialize in organizing the business community, events, and applying for grants. The VISTA partner will aid Middleburgh until the end of August 2013.

"This is a huge step forward," said Mayor Avitabile, "And the entire project will not require any tax increases." Trustee Sheryl Adams had been working on the Main Street grant and is largely responsible for it coming to fruition.

Members of the business community are enthused. This also comes as the Creekside Park project, originally slated for a 2004 opening, has just been completed. With the aid of the Middleburgh Telephone Company, the Village is planning on having the Depot Museum and Badgely Park renovations done by next summer.

These multi-stage rebuilding projects are part of a bigger plan, said the Mayor. "The Governor's office wrote the Village a comprehensive economic plan in 2005, but it was ignored. It's time to get the wheels turning again." Within the next year, the Village will propose a new economic plan, along with SALT and the new Middleburgh Business Association.

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