Tonawanda News

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December 12, 2013

NT wins big in bidding process

Tonawanda News — North Tonawanda received more than $700,000 through the New York State Consolidated Application process on Wednesday following the release of $715.9 million statewide and $60.8 million to the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, an initiative launched by Gov. Andrew Cuomo in 2011.

The Gratwick Riverside Marina project was awarded the largest portion of North Tonawanda’s total, with $208,125 for continued work on docking and infrastructure work there, though much less than the $500,000 sought by the city. 

Oliver Street will get an upgrade with the allotment of $200,000 for facade improvements, with a focus of that project likely centered between Wheatfield and Schenck streets, as the officials seeks to revive the commercial viability of the once lively strip. 

A bicycle path extension up Sweeney Street from downtown North Tonawanda to Mayors Park will also now move forward, with $144,707 in state funding, a project that city official say will add to the quality of life issues and tie into its master plan of enhancing waterfront activities. 

Two applications submitted by private non-profits with the help of North Tonawanda’s Community Development, were also announced Wednesday. The Riviera Theatre and Performing Art Center will get $42,343 to digitize its projectors, and the Herschell Carrousel Factory Museum won $134,454 to renovate the Allan Herschell Office Building located at the rear of its property. 

Mayor Rob Ortt said much of the credit for the grant procurements belongs to members of the Lumber City Development Corp., who also run the city’s Community Development arm. The group has pulled in nearly $6 million in federal and state grants since 2009. 

Ortt also said he believes development momentum over the last several years may have been a factor in the state’s decision to fund nearly all of the projects for which the city applied. 

“We have a great development team and we certainly have a good track record with the people reviewing these projects,” he said. “There’s a lot of evidence to show these were wise investments.” 

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