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DUNKIRK – City Planning Director Steve Neratko announced Monday that most of the property in Dunkirk is eligible for incentives for new businesses under the Start Up New York grant funding program.

To be eligible, new businesses must be within one mile of a State University campus. Neratko said most of the available development sites in the city would fall within a mile from Fredonia State College facilities.

Neratko said he hopes to provide a list of sites that are already owned by the Dunkirk Local Development Corp. as start-up locations. He said new companies could get tax incentives and other rebates under the new program.

Neratko said the city will work with the private owner of the large lot on Central Avenue where the former Masonic Temple building stood. The building burned in 2009.

He said the owner was open to promoting the lot and may even allow some city events to be held on the land this year. The area is across the street from City Hall.

Neratko gave his report Monday to members of the city’s Economic Development Committee.

Committee members also heard about upcoming events, including a tree-lighting ceremony set for 4:30 p.m. Friday at City Hall and winter sports programs inside the city’s recreation building on the Chautauqua County Fairgrounds on Central Avenue.

Winter basketball leagues, soccer practices and skating are among the activities starting in January. A complete list of sports activities is available on the city website or by calling the Youth Recreation Office.

Neratko also gave an update on funding from the Landbank program. He said the city and Chautauqua County will have $1.5 million in grant funding available through this program. He said his office has targeted 20 parcels of land.

The program funding will be used to renovate existing structures or to tear down dilapidated buildings.

Neratko said he hopes to see the guidelines for funding from county officials so that a plan can be announced for the use of funding.

Neratko also reported that several businesses are interested in applying for funding to repair or upgrade their buildings under the Main Street Grant application project.

The first two blocks of Central Avenue are the target area for the funding opportunity. The development office is working with business owners on regulations for receiving money to enhance businesses in that area.

Committee Chairwoman Stephanie Kiyak said she will take a resolution to the City Council supporting ongoing training for members of the city’s Planning and Zoning boards. Neratko said he thought members of these boards would participate in training sessions if the costs were not prohibitive.

According to a city resolution passed in 2007, the members are not required to participate in formal training to participate in the boards. Neratko said he thought training and education could be beneficial.