OLEAN – The Friday after Thanksgiving is always a festive time in the City of Olean. A parade brings people out to see Santa Claus light up the street.
Now a city agency has stepped up with a plan to bring even more lights to the downtown, as well as attract attention to an area landmark.
The Greater Olean Area Chamber of Commerce has asked to be able to light up the Manufacturer’s Hanover Bank building, on the southwestern corner of the State and Union streets intersection. The plan would bring more attention to the vacant building.
“It would be a nice touch to the corner to brighten it up for the holidays,” Mayor William Aiello said.
The members of the city’s Urban Renewal Agency approved the request for the new lighting scheme.
In other business, it was learned that if the city does not use funds that were allocated for improvement on the Manufacturer’s Hanover Building, the funds may be gone for good.
Public Works Director Tom Windus received notification from the Empire State Development Council that the funds must be used or forfeited.
Mary George, the city’s community development coordinator, said she recommends that the authority transfer the funds into the account to be used in the infrastructure plan, through the federal TIGER grant awarded for the North Union Street project. The funds then would be available when developers are identified and start to transform the former bank into a usable space once again.
A total of $350,000 has been spent on roof work for the bank building and another $200,000 has been spent on design work. With the remaining $600,000 still not allocated for any specific improvements, the transfer would ensure the funds would stay within the city.
George said that, according to state regulations, the $600,000 would be available for the developers if they were to spend $6 million on the project.
“I’d hate to see the funds lost,” Aiello said.
With details of the transfer to be worked out between city and state officials, the plan is expected to move forward.