Community and Economic Development Director Amanda Bearcroft spoke at Tuesday’s common council meeting about three resolutions on the agenda. Two resolutions, each later passed by the council, were to accept two New York State grants for $97,200 each for the city to complete a Brownfield Opportunity Area nomination for two areas in the city.
The city was awarded the Brownfield Opportunity Area (BOA) designation for the city’s downtown area in 2016. The designation is part of a state program which provides tax incentives for businesses and developers with projects within the area, and makes available funding and technical assistance to the city. Bearcroft explained that the city applied for two more areas in 2017.
The first area, called the East End Area, encompasses approximately 129 acres and is bounded by the Mohawk River on the south, the eastern boundary of the city line on the east, Forbes Street on the north, and Liberty Street on the west.
The second area, called the North Eastern Neighborhoods Area, encompasses approximately 309 acres and is bounded by Market Street and Locust Avenue on the west, Lyons Street on the northwest, Hewitt Street, Sloane Avenue, and Forest Avenue on the east, and Edward, Kellog, and Church Streets on the south.
According to Bearcroft, the city will contribute $2,800 in funds for each of the studies, as well as $8,000 worth of in-kind administration services for each study in order to meet the matching requirements of the grant.
“With this funding we would be able to go out to [request for proposals] to have a consultant finish these nomination studies,” said Bearcoft.
Bearcroft also explained the need for a $10,000 increase to her department’s contractual account in order to cover the cost of geographic information systems software.
“It’s a mapping and visualization tool that planners and economic developers use. It’s spatial analytics, it’s imagery and data collection in order to look at parcels and see how they can be developed,” said Bearcroft.
She explained that the ability to provide detailed demographic data to potential developers was important for attracting new businesses.
“I got a call today, they wanted demographics within a 5,10, and 20 mile area of the city. I have no way of doing that until I have this software,” she said.
The council approved the resolution which transferred funds from the Community and Economic Development Department’s personnel lines to its contractual lines.