Up to $25K available for startup companies in Fulton County

Small and startup companies in Fulton County can get a piece of a $185,000 grant pool called the Microenterprise Grant Program, but they must apply soon.

La Villa Dog Works, which describes itself as a two-person, one dog shop, makes dog collars and leashes and sells them online and its retail store in Johnstown. It's expansion was boosted last year with a loan from the Microenterprise Grant Program administered by CRG.

La Villa Dog Works, which describes itself as a two-person, one-dog shop, makes dog collars and leashes and sells them online and its retail store in Johnstown. Its expansion was boosted last year with a $25,000 loan from the Microenterprise Grant Program administered by CRG.

 The Fulton County Center for Regional Growth administers the program, which seeks to boost the chances of young and start up businesses with five or fewer full-time employees, one of whom is the owner. The program offers up to $25,000 in seed money per applicant to be used for new businesses or expansions that create jobs. The money comes from a federal Community Development Block Grant, filtered through the state Office of Community Renewal.

CRG President and CEO Ron Peters said the CRG hopes to award money by July. Applicants must go through a training process that includes a general overview of business; accounting, taxes and finance; marketing and e-commerce; and development of a business plan. There is a $100 fee for the training, which can be expensed to the Microenterprise Grant funds.

L&L embroidery

In last year’s round of Microenterprise Grant Program Funding, L&L Embroidery of 258 County Highway 142, Johnstown received $25,000. The company does custom embroidery on apparel and accessories.

Facial room at SW Skin Care & Cosmetics in Johnstown NY

SW Skin Care & Cosmetics, Inc., an esthetician and day spa in Johnstown, received $15,000 from the Microenterprise Grant program last year.

Training sessions will be held June 15-16, and June 22-23 at the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce office on North Main Street.

Companies that received Microenterprise Grant Program funding in 2015 included LaVilla Dog Works, 11 S. Market St., Johnstown – $25,000; SW Skin Care & Cosmetics, Inc. of 86 Briggs St., Johnstown – $15,000; and L&L Embroidery of 258 County Highway 142, Johnstown – $25,000.

News: Estee demolition financing sought

Housing financing still up in the air

By MICHAEL ANICH, Leader Herald

CRG President and CEO Ron Peters said Friday he thought he would have heard by now from the state Division of Housing & Community Renewal.

He said the state will be announcing soon whether financing for Liberty Affordable Housing Inc. of Rome, Oneida County, will come to fruition.

“It may be in the next month,” Peters said.

The CRG owns the Estee building, which is destined for demolition anyway.

“We’re looking at taking the property down in any event, before the end of the year,” Peters said.

Liberty Affordable Housing has plans for an $8 million housing complex at the site of the former middle school facing North Main Street. The firm, which owns apartment complexes in Amsterdam and elsewhere in upstate New York, agreed in 2013 to buy the property. The company wants to tear down the vacant school and build a 37-unit apartment building.

But Liberty Affordable Housing’s purchase is contingent on funding from the state Division of Housing & Community Renewal. The company was unsuccessful in its first two applications, including last year when it sought $2 million in Housing Trust Fund Program funds and $800,000 from low income housing credit programs.

Liberty Affordable Housing’s purchase may also include the 39-unit Estee Commons on Fremont Street. It is the portion of the former school renovated into downtown apartments several years ago.

Liberty Affordable Housing’s contract with the CRG expires after this round of funding. The CRG estimates an $800,000 demolition cost.

The city has $400,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds for the property which must be spent by the year’s end. Along with other state funding, there is about $650,000 available toward demolition. The balance would hopefully come from other state funds, Peters says.

The state Division of Housing & Community Renewal’s regional office in Syracuse couldn’t be reached Friday for comment.

Razing the former Estee Middle School would be the second large demolition in the city this decade. In 2011, the abandoned First Baptist Church on South Main Street was demolished at a total cost around $500,000, most of it covered by state funds.

Reporter Michael Anich can be contacted by email at johnstown@leaderherald.com.