Ready, set, NY Forward in Sharon Springs


By Patsy Nicosia

How hard is it to spend $2.25 million?
Sharon Springs’ NY Forward LPC is about to find out.
Charged with coming up with a list of projects that will transform Main Street, members of the Local Planning Committee met Tuesday with consultants, planners, and representatives from the Department of State to get an idea of what’s ahead of them.
Sharon Springs became one of the state’s first NY Forward winners in March, $2.25 million in grants for economic development in upstate rural communities; the Village of Cooperstown was also a winner.
Rob Holzman from consultants, the Laberge Group, walked LPC members through what they can expect between now and October or November, when a list of top-priority projects--in no particular order—will be forwarded to the state for consideration.
It’s likely projects on the list will total two or three times the $2.25 grant award, he said, but even those not eventually chosen will have a better chance of other grants simply by virtue of being in that “second bucket.”
The projects chosen will be those that are transformative and have a connection with each other, Mr. Holzman said.
Tony Daou, a LPC member and owner of the Black Cat, said he’s excited by the possibilities.
“I feel very strongly this is an incredible opportunity to do some exciting things,” he said.
Sharon’s business community and economy has “dropped and spiked, dropped and spiked,” he said. “It’s enormously important we pick those projects that will bring people back to the village.”
Dan Lapin of the Department of State said the NY Forward money is intended as a “shot in the arm…really a launching pad that will trigger other grants.”
What kind of projects will the LPC be looking for?
Those that attract new businesses, help existing businesses, deal with facades and things like HVAC, and create and add to public space like parks.
The state is also looking for projects that can break ground within two years—which means financing is largely in place or can be wrapped up relatively quickly, Mr. Lapin said.
Site control is also critical.
The village detailed 24 possible projects—16 of them transformative and 8 for potential businesses--in its initial application.
All of those will need to “apply” again, Mr. Lapin said, and in July, there will be an “open call” for other projects not on that first list.
The LPC will meet monthly, with the exception of July; the next meeting is Tuesday, June 27, 4:30-6:30pm in the Community Room at the library, and the public is welcome.
Two “open house-style” community meetings will also be held, one in July and another in September, with the dates to be determined.
In September, the LTC will begin discussing the proposed projects; by November they’ll be headed to the state.
It will be up to the LPC to decide whether the projects picked require a match; the grants will come as reimbursements, which means the money has to be spent first.
Winners are expected to be named in late winter or early spring 2024.
Deputy Mayor Denise Kelly and SUNY Cobleskill President Marion Terenzio are co-chairs of the LPC.
Other members are: Julie Pacatte, Maureen Lodes, Barb Handy, Lane DeShazo, Austin Jetton, Arianna Parsons, Marianne Moore, Carol Vacca, Elliott Adams, Brent Ridge, and Tony Daou.