LOCKPORT – Lockport Main Street Inc., which renovated seven downtown buildings with a state grant it was awarded two and a half years ago, is looking for another.
Heather B. Peck, program director, said a request is going to Albany for about $250,000 in a New York Main Street grant.
If is received, her group would offer allocations to interested downtown property owners.
“There are properties downtown that continue to need renovations,” Peck said.
The December 2011 grant of $251,300 required property owners to supply at least a 25 percent match for their project costs. In all, Peck said, the total investment was $381,000.
The work included repairs to facades at Rotten Ink, a West Main Street tattoo parlor in an old brick building; exterior brick work at the Lockport YMCA on East Avenue; and exterior improvements at Lake Effect Ice Cream’s new location on Canal Street.
Also, Lockport Locks and Erie Canal Cruises got a new roof on its Market Street headquarters.
But three downtown buildings obtained something new: apartments on upper floors.
Two of the three apartments have been rented, Peck said.
The residential space is located on the second floor of the Clinton Building on Main Street, which houses Scirto’s Jewelers and other businesses, and above two stores that adjoin each other on East Avenue, Pallister House Florists and Les Enfants, a children’s clothing store.
“We’ve seen Yahoo employees express interest in this space, which is great,” said R. Charles Bell, city planning and development director.
Bell said the Greater Lockport Development Corp., the city’s development agency, deposited the matching funds paid by the property owners and paid the contractors up front before obtaining reimbursement from Albany.
The development corporation is seeking its own new state grant, $200,000 to help small and start-up businesses in a microenterprise program.
The last $200,000 microenterprise grant two years ago was divided among 17 businesses out of 22 that applied.
Bell said this time, the city will revise the scoring system for applications to include greater emphasis on viability and tourist attractiveness.
Two of the main successes were Lake Effect Ice Cream and Sweet Ride Rentals, but most of the other recipients also are still in business.
The rules set for the microenterprise grants by the state Office of Community Renewal say the money must be granted, not lent, and at least half of the money must be used for start-ups.
“It’s a shame we don’t have any clawback at all,” said Bell, who hoped to be allowed to use the money for loans.
The city also expects to seek a major state grant to restore two more locks in the Flight of Five, the 19th century Erie Canal locks.
Two locks are being completed now and are expected to open this summer.