Middleburgh to spend $10K to lure new businesses
MIDDLEBURGH The village of Middleburgh is earmarking $10,000 in grant money to try to lure a new pharmacy or grocery store to town to replace stores lost to last year’s flooding.
The grant is part of a $222,500 pot of state money fueling a post-flood recovery plan announced this week by Mayor Matthew Avitabile.
The village is getting a boost from the regional flood recovery organization SALT, which dispatched a VISTA worker to help organize business community efforts and apply for more grants.
“We’re getting the wheel turning,” Avitabile said.
Village businesses have already applied for roughly $150,000 in Main Street block grants. Avitabile said there’s about $30,000 spent out of that segment of funding, and business owners have applications for $120,000 already under consideration.
Another $50,000 is being made available for village businesses — money that could help some restructure the debt they’ve already assumed getting their operations running again.
“I know one business in particular had to take out $20,000 on a credit card. It’s suffocating,” Avitabile said.
The plan for that money is to provide loans carrying interest rates of 1 percent or less, and the needs expressed in applications will vary, he said.
Factors to be considered for the loan program include the severity of damage sustained, the stability of the business and the impact expected to result from the loans being approved.
The former Grand Union grocery store was wrecked by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene, which also shut down the local pharmacy. Both losses have been sending villagers out of town to find what they need.
These are the types of operations considered vital to a village, leading officials to offer the $10,000 in funding to entice development.
Another part of the village’s plan revolves around the look of Main Street.
Avitabile said the village plans a “dramatic” improvement with $22,500 budgeted to buy new benches, garbage cans and flags, all additions expected to make shopping there a pleasant experience.
“Using this money in a responsible manner is going to end up adding to the charm that we already have,” Avitabile said.
Business owners interested in the village’s programs can contact Village Hall at 827-5143.