Irene: $7.9M in grants offer help to flooded businesses

Assistance approved for 584 applicants

Friday, July 20, 2012
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— Farms and funeral homes, dentists and lawyers, historic sites and educational institutions are among hundreds of beneficiaries in line for state grant funding announced Thursday.

Though it’s always good news when grants come through, the sheer length of the list affirms what many realized after last summer: Flooding doesn’t discriminate.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s office announced $7.9 million in grants of up to $20,000 from the state’s Business Flood Recovery Grant Program going to a whopping 584 eligible applicants. About 1,000 applications were submitted from flooded businesses, according to the release.

“Helping our communities recover from the devastating floods has remained a top priority, and today, we have matched that commitment with critical funding to support their resurgence,” Cuomo said in the release.

The money will fill in gaps for damage nonprofits and small business owners were unable to have covered through insurance and other state and federal programs.

Among the beneficiaries will be the Montgomery County Historical Society. The nonprofit submitted applications for help to pay for about $140,000 in repairs that followed flood damage to 263-year-old Fort Johnson, the historic home of Sir William Johnson.

The site that’s drawn thousands of schoolchildren and tourists over the years has been closed since Tropical Storm Irene, caretaker Scott Haefner said Thursday. But the end of recovery work is in sight: Old Fort Johnson has scheduled an Aug. 11 re-opening.

Manufacturers like the Harva Co. in Schoharie also are on the list of those in line for grant funding. Harva Co. owner Susan McGiver, who coordinated the opening of a second location in order to recover from flood damage, said the company is now filling nearly as many orders as it did at this time last year.

State officials hailed the grant funding in comments they prepared for the announcement.

“These grants represent another important step in helping this region recover and rebuild after last year’s devastating floods,” state Sen. Hugh T. Farley said in the release.

“Working with the governor, we were able to create this program to assist small businesses, farms and nonprofit organizations. We recognize that these entities are the economic backbone of these small communities, and I am glad that the state is able to offer this assistance to help them recover.”

The grants themselves still require a public hearing and final approval from the state’s Public Authorities Control Board, work expected to be finished in early August, according to the release.

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