By CRAIG FREILICH
Canton and Massena will be receiving a combined $1.1million in state funding for industrial parks and building rehabilitation as part of the $90.2 million awarded to the North Country Regional Economic Development Council this week.
Another $175,000 is earmarked for environmental clean up in Star Lake and $139,500 for creation of a folklore collection in Canton. Russell and Gouverneur are also funding recipients. The region as a whole will benefit from funding of tourism promotion initiatives.
The North Country Council was given a “Top Performer Award” for its progress in implementing last year’s plan. That earned the region another enhanced award this year for 82 projects and programs in the second round of competitive regional economic development funding totaling $762 million distributed around the state.
Canton’s industrial park is getting $470,000 basic infrastructure support in the form of development of water, sewer, roadway and other improvements, and a new building to house “incubator” businesses. St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency chief Patrick Kelly said his agency will be preparing a request for proposals for the work soon.
The industrial park in Massena is slated to receive $209,000 for development of rail spur to the Massena Terminal Railroad and CSX.
It is also getting $60,000 for upgrades to two buildings there, “to get them ready for occupancy,” Kelly said.
Also in Massena, the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena will have $250,000 available to renovate 32 commercial and three residential units in 19 buildings with interior, exterior and streetscape improvements.
The site of the former Jones and Laughlin foundry in Star Lake will get $175,000 worth of site preparation to “turn what is an abandoned eyesore into a productive asset,” said Kelly.
Another $200,000 tis going o the North Country Housing Council to renovate the interiors of two commercial and two residential buildings in Canton
Other substantial awards were:
• $139,500 to Traditional Arts in Upstate New York, Canton, to work with an extensive collection of folklore resources from Marjorie L. Porter
• $117,705 for improvements to Russell Town Hall, including a new roof
• $30,000 to Gouverneur for a wastewater treatment study.
Other St. Lawrence County programs that were highlighted in last Wednesday’s announcement and previously reported were for:
• Curran Renewable Energy, LLC in Massena, wood pellet producer, to purchase a wood fire combustion chamber that would allow them to burn green wood residue for the wood pellet drying process, improving efficiency by 20 percent.
• North Country Regional Food Hub, to be located in Canton and sponsored by United Helpers Management Co. of Ogdensburg, which plans to establish a 9,000 sq. ft. facility to improve the region’s “local food” environment, distributing high quality locally grown and raised products to regional wholesalers, restaurants, grocery stores, food co-operatives, schools, colleges, hospitals and other institutions. It will include a commercial kitchen, cooler and freezer space, areas for cheese, vegetable and meat processing, and a loading dock for shipping. The project is expected to create 15 new jobs over the first three years of operation.
• Local telecommunications company Nicholville Telephone’s subsidiary SLIC Network Solutions, slated to receive $1.37 million for installation of broadband lines to provide service to 750 households in Long Lake and the surrounding area in Hamilton County. The project will require hiring 15 people during construction and five permanent employees, according to the submitted plan.
• $175,000 to aid implementation of the Raquette River Blueway Trail Corridor, which will include several riverside improvements along the course of the river to improve river usage and increase tourism, including construction of the Village of Potsdam Raquette Riverwalk, development of an oral history of hydro dam builders in the 1950s, installation of 15 informational kiosks along the Blueway, and provision of handicap access at the Colton Information Center.