Town of Canton holding off on $473,000 brownfield property grant
By ADAM ATKINSON
CANTON — The town board is still holding off on accepting a $473,000 state grant for a “Riverside Renaissance” construction project proposed in 2016.
Part of the problem? The $163,000 that the grant specifies the town will pay for a Riverside Drive brownfield property in the project was never budgeted, said Town Supervisor Mary Ann Ashley.Additionally, agreements specified by the grant application between the town, village and SUNY Canton to share in the project implementation and outcomes apparently don’t exist, said Ashley.
Ashley said the board tabled further action on the grant and referred the matter to the joint town and village economic development committee for more review.
Ashley said the original grant written by the previous administration in 2016 called for town purchase of a brownfield property with the village and then a partnership with SUNY Canton for the college to provide a hospitality center at a new facility to be built on the lot, in addition to further study of installation of a white water park and construction of a pedestrian footpath under Route 11 to connect the whitewater park with additional parking.
“None of this was budgeted. I’m very concerned. We don’t have the money for this,” Ashley said.
Ashley said the town already has taken on two other grant-funded projects that were not budgeted for.
“When you apply for grants, you need to make sure you have the financial viability, and it has to be budgeted,” Ashley said. “I’m very concerned with the way they were written and not planned for financially.”
Ashley said one option the town has is to simply say “no thank you” to the grant, but the board opted to take another look at funding with the committee to see if it can be modified to make it fiscally responsible.