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Gloversville Public Library celebrations planned

Two events to celebrate renovations

GLOVERSVILLE — The Gloversville Public Library will be hosting two events to celebrate the upcoming renovation of the more than 100-year-old building.

Lisa Buggeln, the library board of trustees’ vice president of finance, said the open house will start with a ribbon cutting ceremony likely at the West Fulton Street entrance.

DSC00546bOriginally published in The Leader-Herald, MAY 6, 2017

Buggeln said there will be a number of children’s activities throughout the event including face painting and make-your-own bookmark craft.

A scavenger hunt will take place to get people acclimated to the layout of the space. Every visitor will get a floor map of the library and the location of the various events going on. Scavenger hunts can be done by kids, teenagers and adults.

“When [children] come back with [the hunt] completed they will get a little goody bag,” she said.

Those who participate in the scavenger hunt will get a coupon for the raffle of one of three prize baskets that will be offered: one for adults, one for teenagers and one for children.

The event will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 13.

“It’s introducing everyone to where we are now,” Buggeln said. “We really want people to know where the temporary space is and the layout.”

Library staff will also be on hand to answer questions.

The library opened in its temporary location at the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth at 34 W. Fulton St. on April 24. The move was precipitated by the a total overhaul of the more than 110-year-old Andrew Carnegie-funded library over the next 14 to 24 months.

At 6 p.m. on May 18, the library will hold a kickoff event at the library’s permanent home at 58 E. Fulton St. The kickoff will celebrate the start of the construction.

“It says we’re starting, we are actually doing this,” Buggeln said.

The event will see the public be able to come and see the emptied out space before the construction starts.

Participants will be able to better envision what the space will look like after the construction is complete with the help of a little tape. gloversville-library-NYBuggeln said tape will be used on the floor to show where items and spaces will be after the building undergoes a total renovation.

Buggeln said two donors are paying for Union Hall Inn to cater the event.

Changes at the property will include new meeting rooms, additional niches for reading, installation of air conditioning and new handicapped accessibility, including an elevator.

The basement will be transformed into a center for children with a dedicated space for teens, something the library staff and board all agree is something that is needed for the area.

Even with all of the changes, the historic aspects — with the exception of the boiler and radiators — will be staying. This includes the distinctive grand staircases.

The library will also be installing an elevator. This installation will be accomplished by putting on an addition to the side of the building. An identical addition will be put on the opposite side of the building for symmetry per the state Historic Preservation Board.

Buggeln said invitations have gone out to everyone who donated to the library’s capital campaign. The capital campaign raised over $8 million for the renovation.

The library board will be voting to approve contracts for the project sometime this month, after which the work can get started.

Buggeln said the library staff and board are hopeful contracts will begin a week after the kickoff party.

Gloversville storefronts to be restored

DeSantis’ downtown project approved
Plans to turn 2 buildings into retail, living space

GLOVERSVILLE –Vincent DeSantis’ plan for renovating a downtown building has been approved by the city’s planning board, with hopes to have retail businesses in place by the end of the summer.

On Tuesday, DeSantis was given the green light for a plan to overhaul the exterior of 31 N. Main St. and convert the first floor from an office into a retail establishment.

DeSantis, the Third Ward Councilman and a former city court judge, purchased 31 and 33 N. Main St. in October and plans to renovate both buildings.

The property at 31 N. Main St. will undergo the greatest change.

The building, which currently features a white marble front with three small windows near the top of the first floor, will be overhauled with a goal of bringing back its Victorian-era storefront.

DeSantis is hoping to apply for state and federal Historic Preservation tax credits for 31 N. Main St.

“It is building that has been modernized on the front to the point that it does not [conform] with the historic character of downtown. Changing that back to a Victorian front may qualify for tax breaks,” DeSantis said.

Inside the building, the first floor will be transformed to potentially house two businesses. The second floor will be turned into two loft-style apartments.

There will possibly be another apartment on the third floor, but that will take more time to complete, since it has gone untouched for several decades.

“That’s a really big project. At this point, there is only a ladder and hatchway up to the third floor, and it’s really closed off,” he said. “When you go up the ladder, it’s like a time capsule. It’s stepping back in time to 1910. Everything is deteriorated, the plaster is coming off the walls, you can see the lath in places.”

DeSantis said he is hopeful that within five years the space can be developed into a full apartment.

DeSantis said he has two prospective tenants that are interested in opening up in the space: a bakery/cafe and a juice bar. There will be limited seating available in the space, including some on a planned deck.

He said he hopes to have the businesses and second floor apartments occupied by the end of the summer. He said he has spoken with a couple contractors already about the project.

“Once it gets going, I think it will be very quickly,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said the tenant at 33 N. Main St. left at the end of April, and someone is interested in taking the space. The one-story building is already zoned for retail. No planning board approval was needed for that property at this point, since there will be no exterior changes to the building.

The building will need minimal work to get it ready for a new tenant. DeSantis does plan to put in some new flooring and work to expose a tin ceiling that is currently covered by a drop ceiling.

“As opposed to [31 N. Main], 33 was very well maintained,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis said he thought that with the eastern side of North Main Street seeing development in the form of the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, Schine Memorial Hall and City National Commons, that it was time for the western side of the street to see some new renovations.

“I just think that right now there is a lot of energy going into downtown. A lot of psychological energy and there is a lot of investment downtown,” he said. “Somehow, that had to jump across the street. It had to synergize with something on the other side of the street.”

DeSantis said that the two buildings had been for sale for a long period of time, and he thought they were small enough that he could financially handle the renovations.

DeSantis said the renovations and new businesses could help with the application for the state’s second round of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.

The state will again be awarding 10 communities across New York $10 million for downtown improvement plans.

DeSantis said that it could be helpful for the application to show improvements are already being made.

“Whenever you apply for something like that, they give you points if they feel something is already happening in the downtown,” he said. “So it does help the application.”

DeSantis said elected officials are disqualified from receiving money from the state for this program.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

Business to expand into Diana Knit site

The former Diana Knitting Mill off North Perry and Grove streets in Johnstown is being groomed for Townsend Leather's expansion. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich)

The former Diana Knitting Mill off North Perry and Grove streets in Johnstown is being groomed for Townsend Leather’s expansion. (The Leader-Herald/Michael Anich

Originally published in The Leader-Herald, May 3, 2017

JOHNSTOWN — Townsend Leather plans to expand into the former, vacant Diana Knitting Mill complex at North Perry and Grove streets, eventually creating more than 50 new jobs to start.

The renewal and manufacturing project was unveiled by Townsend representative Stitchery Realty LLC to the city Planning Board Tuesday at City Hall.

“We’ve been looking at floor space throughout the city,” Tim Beckett of Stitchery told the board.

He said Townsend could have looked elsewhere, but decided to stay in the city of Johnstown.

Townsend Leather on Townsend Avenue, which dyes and produces leather goods for vendors throughout the world, has been in business since 1969.

The former Diana Knitting Mill at 229 N. Perry St. is a three-parcel, multi-building connected complex that has been empty for more than 15 years.

The complex includes a 66,000-square-foot building, of which 47,000 square feet is a three-story, former knitting mill; and a 19,000-square-foot, two-story addition built in 1988 with conveyer system.

Beckett said Townsend is seeking a new business operating permit for the mill area. Zoning in that part of Johnstown is currently classified as commercial. There are no zoning issues. He said the eventual Townsend operation would include manufacturing equipment, dry drums and a leather buffing machine. He said one side of the complex would hire up to 12 people to start and the brick side of the plant facing Grove Street would involve about 40 employees to start.

But Beckett cautioned that much work has to be done to the building and the new Townsend operation may not come to fruition for a year to two years.

According to an informational letter from Stitchery Realty LLC to the planning board, Townsend is under contract to purchase the former mill.

“The contract is contingent on structural, environmental and zoning approval for industrial manufacturing at the site,” the Stitchery letter states.

The letter notes the existing parcels need to be changed, altered or granted a variance prior to purchase.

“We have an agreement with [Townsend] to lease one-third of the building with an option to take half of the space should we have manufacturing on these parcels,” the letter says. “The local manufacturer’s production will be inclusive of the building. There would be no external exhaust or wastewater additions to the building nor would they be emitting any particles. The lease and purchase of this building are dependent upon manufacturing at the [former] Diana Mill.”

The letter says the plan is not to “alter the existing footprint” of the building.

“Construction on the building will be to focus on getting it back up to code and capable of leasing out,” the letter states. “There are a few small out buildings on the southwest section of the Grove Street building parcel. These buildings were to house old boilers, which may need to come down as the roofs are in disrepair. The remainder of the building will be planned for future rental space for startup manufacturers, potential office space and even some co-working offices with shared services. These would be developed after the first phase of construction is complete and the building is up to code to be leased out.”

“Parking is a tough scenario for us,” Beckett said.

But he said his firm has been in touch with nearby JAVAC, to possibly use some of its parking spaces.

Beckett said a two-year plan for the complex is to take out some trees around the building and windows will be replaced.

The board voted to hold a public hearing on the project for 4 p.m. June 6 at City Hall. The board also voted itself lead agency for the state Environmental Quality Review process that is required.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.

Store plans expansion

GLOVERSVILLE — The Common Council has agreed to hold a public hearing in regards to a proposal to sell a small piece of land to a city business owner for a planned expansion at the South Main Street store.

Country Farms gas station and convenience store. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

Country Farms gas station and convenience store. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

Originally published in The Leader-Herald, May 2, 2017

According to City Attorney Anthony Casale, the owner of the Country Farms gas station approached the city in 2016 seeking to obtain a parcel of city-owned property to allow for a planned expansion.

“It would allow for a more traditional type of expansion, as opposed to an awkwardly shaped corner to the building,” he said.

The city has previously said there is no forseeable use the city would have for the land.

The property owners purchased two adjacent properties lying to the north of the property– one had a house and the other a former restaurant. Both have been demolished.

The store, at 200 S. Main St. was purchased from Cumberland Farms Inc. in 2011 for $575,000 according to the Fulton County tax map.

Casale said the city has been awaiting a survey and description of the property before going forward. In addition, Casale said he was awaiting the owner hiring an attorney as well, which has since happened.

“We are now in a position to put this [matter] to bed,” Casale said.

Casale said the council previously agreed by motion last year to sell the plot for $100, based on the recommendation of City Assessor Joni Dennie.

The land abuts the Rail Trail, but the sale will not affect the Rail Trail, which runs behind the convenience store.

Casale said in order to move forward with a potential sale, the city would need to pass an ordinance after holding a public hearing.

The public hearing will be held during the May 9 meeting of the council.

Also during the meeting, the council approved two resolutions modifying the terms and conditions of employment for City Clerk Jennifer Mazur and Deputy Clerk Kristy Kemment.

The resolutions allow the two to opt out of the city health insurance plan. The change would also see a $1,500 annual payment to the clerk and deputy clerk for opting out of the city health plan.

Estee demolition could begin late spring

Low-income senior housing to replace it

The crumbling Estee school building on the corner of Prospect Avenue and North Main Street in Gloversville will soon be demolished to make way for a senior housing project.  Photo by Bill Trojan The Leader-Herald

The crumbling Estee school building on the corner of Prospect Avenue and North Main Street in Gloversville will soon be demolished to make way for a senior housing project.
Photo by Bill Trojan The Leader-Herald

The $8 million project will cater to low-income seniors 55 and older. Liberty Affordable Housing of Rome in Oneida County, which owns apartment complexes in Amsterdam and other places, agreed in 2013 to buy the property. The company would level the vacant school and build a 37-unit apartment building on the site.The definition of low income will be at or below 50 percent of the area median income.

Six of the units will be set aside for people with physical disabilities and/or frail elderly. Priority will be given to veterans for these six units.

The project also proposes to try to keep some of the architectural elements of the building, but it will be torn down.

The building is in poor shape, with bricks falling off the sides. The interior condition of the building is also of concern, including the presence of black mold. The state agreed to let the city forgo interior photography of the building, due to the health concerns related to the mold.

The project was also awarded a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant nearly two years ago.

Zabawsky said the city needs to enter into a sub-grantee relationship with the developers of the project, Liberty Affordable housing, in which Gloversville would be the main grantee.

In December, the Common Council voted to accept a $3.7 million grant from the Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Zabawsky said these funds were recaputured from major banks during the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008.

The former Estee school building in Gloversville will be torn down to make way for low-income senior housing. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

The former Estee school building in Gloversville will be torn down to make way for low-income senior housing. (The Leader-Herald/Kerry Minor)

“It’s funneled through various state entities,” he said. “This is one of the first projects, in fact it may be the first project, funded through this method.”

Zabawsky said the city is the grant recipient.

Prior to the project being awarded the $3.7 million in funding, the city and Liberty had been looking to scrap the project due to lack of funds. The council passed a resolution that would allow the use of the $400,000 grant for the demolition of the buildings, with plans to make it a greenspace. The council later altered course after the Local Initiatives Support Coporation grant was announced.

The two resolutions approved Tuesday allow the mayor to exectute agreement from the grants, subject to city attorney Anthony Casale’s approval.

“The reason we’re doing it now, is looks like we’re going to be closing on the Estee project fianancing in early-May and hopefull sometime in May we’ll start seeing some action at that site,” Zabawsky said.

Mayor Dayton King said this is a major project for the city, and one they have been looking forward to doing.

“We have a lot going on. This one has been a long time coming and I’m excited for it,” King said.

Kerry Minor can be reached at kminor@leaderherald.com.

Gloversville vies for $10 million prize

Glove City set sights on statewide competition for downtowns

A Gloversville committee is working on an ambitious plan for downtown revitalization, in anticipation of the relaunch of the $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) competition for 2017. The committee has identified at least $22 million worth of projects it would like to see funded.

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth President Ron Peters said he believes Gloversville came in second place in last year’s competition. To get a leg up on the next potential grant opportunity, the city hired a Downtown Development Specialist in December and formed a committee in March to work on the application.

 See the video of Gloversville’s plans for redevelopment

The DRI program set aside $100 million in 2016 to “improve the urban vitality of city centers across New York State.” One city in each of 10 regions was chosen for a $10 million grant. Contestants within each region were pitted against each other to prove their plans had the most potential to transform “downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families.”

Oneonta and the 9 other cities chosen in 2016 – Glens Falls, Oswego, Geneva, Westbury, Middletown, Jamaica, Plattsburgh, Elmira and Jamestown  – have been working since last summer on Strategic Implementation Plans for downtown projects that well exceed the $10 million available to each city over the next five years. The plans, due in June, outline ways to combine the DRI funds with other sources of private or public funds.

Trail Station park during Gloversville Railfest

Trail Station Park in 2016

Trail Station Park in the summer of 2016

Trail Station Park in the summer of 2016

Funding for another round of DRI was included in the state budget passed in the second week of April, but the announcement of the timeline for applications has not yet been made. CRG’s Peters said he suspects the turnaround time might be tight, and that Gloversville will be competing against many of last year’s runners up.

The committee is keeping projects outlined in the 2016 application, such as streetscape improvements on South Main and Harrison streets, lawn improvements at Estee Commons near the bronze sculptures, a new bike path connecting downtown to Trail Station Park, a skate park at the corner of Bleecker and Church streets and a redesign of Castiglione Park.


Artist rendering of planned improvements at Parkhurst Field

Parkhurst Field and The Gloversville Public Library, which were part of last year’s application, later won Consolidated Funding Applications grants.  Parkhurst Field is the oldest continuously used baseball grounds in America. A not-for-profit organization has launched The Fields of Dreams Campaign to restore the park to its condition during its heyday to “create a destination and economic diamond for Upstate New York.”


Exterior view of the 1904 Beaux Arts library building in Gloversville

The Gloversville library, built in 1904 with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie, was the first public library to ever win CFA funding, receiving two $500,000 grants, as well as $214,252 from the NYS Public Library Construction program and $460,000 in private pledges and donations, according to its annual report. The library is currently operating from temporary space in the CRG headquarters and business incubator while the Beaux Arts building is completely renovated and restored.

Curves in stairwell at Gloversville library

View of the curving staircase inside the Gloversville Public Library.

CRG to Show Off Downtown Gloversville Headquarters

For immediate release:

April 5, 2017

Fulton County CRG Announces an Open House

The building at 34 West Fulton that CRG has made into its downtown Gloversville headquarters and a resource for Fulton County..

The building at 34 West Fulton that CRG has made into its downtown Gloversville headquarters and a resource for Fulton County..

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth is excited to announce an Open House Event at its downtown Gloversville headquarters at 34 West Fulton Street on Thursday, April 27th from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. This event is open to the public, but RSVPs are requested for planning purposes.

CRG acquired this building on March 16, 2016, and made it its home on April 1st of last year. Since then, the economic development organization has been slowly remodeling the building to get it ready for future tenants. In addition to CRG, the building now houses the Gloversville Downtown Development Specialist, Jennifer Jennings, in suite 101, Safety First Training in suite 105, Fulton County Board of Realtors in suite 110, and the Gloversville Public Library in a large, former warehouse space on the first floor.

Tours of the building will be conducted and refreshments will be served. Building tenants will be on hand to show off their space and answer any questions that visitors may have.



Becky Hatcher

Executive Assistant

518-725-7700 ext 102


About Fulton County Center for Regional Growth:

Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s (CRG) mission is to strengthen Fulton County’s economic base, facilitate sustainable growth, enhance the competitive position of our region, its counties, towns and cities and facilitate investments that build capacity, create jobs, improve quality of life and increase the standard living for all of its residents.

CRG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. To become a member, visit our website at www.fccrg.org/crg-membership. To stay in touch with CRG, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fccrg/ or on Instagram at @downtowngloversville.

Downtown Event A Delicious Success

There are wonderful things happening in downtown Gloversville and 2017 is going to put a spotlight on them like never before!

This past Saturday, March 25, 2017, kicked off the 2017 Downtown Events calendar in the City of Gloversville. The Cabin Fever Chili Cook-off & Brew featured nine area organizations and two breweries. Despite snowy weather, over 125 people came out to City National Commons to support Downtown Gloversville BID’s efforts to install the first micro-park in the Capital District this summer. The micro-park will be a creative, inviting addition to Downtown and will fit into a parking space on North Main Street, providing seating to anyone who wishes.Downtown events in Gloversville include chili cookoff

 “The atmosphere at the event was truly wonderful,” Melissa Hohenforst, president of Downtown Gloversville BID remarked. “Everyone that came through our doors were amazed and delighted to see the comradery in the community.” The event’s success was made possible by the generosity of the chili contestants: Gloversville Fire Department had the winning chili, second place went to Fulton County Coroner Margarette Luck, third place was shared by the Gloversville Police Department and Mayoral Candidate Bill Rowback. Other participating organizations included Mayor Dayton King, Downtown Gloversville BID, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, Gloversville Public Library and Mohawk Harvest Cooperative.

 “Saturday’s event was a great way to kick-off the 2017 event season,” stated Jennifer Jennings, Downtown Development Specialist. Gloversville organizations like BID, CRG and others have wonderful things planned for this year. The excitement the Cabin Fever Chili Cook-off & Brew has generated will definitely make Downtown the place to be in 2017.”

 Upcoming events include the Spring Festival to be held on May 6th at the Farmers Market Pavilion. The event will mark the start of the Gloversville Farmers Market and focus on gardening. Free seedlings will be handed out by Fulton County Soil and Water, there will be an “ask the expert” for all of your gardening needs, music and more. The event is free and open to the community.

 June 10th will see the Third Annual Southern Adirondack Wine and Food Festival. This event will have over 25 vendors and feature area wineries, breweries and distilleries along with great food and amazing music. Ticket pricing and event details are available at https://www.southernadirondackwineandfoodfestival.com/.


Jennifer Jennings, Downtown Development Specialist
Fulton County Center for Regional Growth
518.725.7700 ext. 107
Instagram: @downtowngloversville

Melissa Hohenforst, President
Downtown Gloversville BID

About Fulton County Center for Regional Growth:
Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s (CRG) mission is to strengthen Fulton County’s economic base, facilitate sustainable growth, enhance the competitive position of our region, its counties, towns and cities and facilitate investments that build capacity, create jobs, improve quality of life and increase the standard living for all of its residents.

CRG is a 501(c)(3) non-profit. To become a member, visit our website at www.fccrg.org/crg-membership. To stay in touch with CRG, follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/fccrg/ or on Instagram at @downtowngloversville.

About Downtown Gloversville Business Improvement District:
Downtown Gloversville Business Improvement District (BID) works with property owners, businesses, arts and cultural institutions, and others to revitalize downtown Gloversville. The BID is committed to providing a variety of services including research, technical assistance, event planning and advocacy. Businesses located in downtown range in size and scope, ensuring a consistently diverse and vibrant business climate.

 BID is an independent not-for-profit. To learn more, visit our website at www.gloversvillebid.com.

Cabin Fever Chili and Brew Tasting

Nine groups serve their chili to participants at the Cabin Fever Chili and Brew Tasting Saturday at the the City National Common Building in downtown Gloversville. The tasters chose the city firefighters’ chili as the best. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Nine groups serve their chili to participants at the Cabin Fever Chili and Brew Tasting Saturday at the the City National Common Building in downtown Gloversville. The tasters chose the city firefighters’ chili as the best. (The Leader-Herald/Eric Retzlaff)

Firefighters and BID are big winners

Originally published in The Leader-Herald
March 27, 2017


GLOVERSVILLE — Despite gloomy, wintry weather, Saturday was a winning day for the Cabin Fever Chili and Brew Tasting fundraiser at the City National Common Building–and for the city’s firefighters.

By 2 p.m., at the 1 to 4 p.m. fundraising event, some 100 people had turned out to enjoy and judge the nine chilis offered and wash them down with beer from two area micro-breweries.

The more profound reason to show up was to benefit the Gloversville Downtown Business Improvement District’s parklet project.

“We had no idea how many people were going to turn out,” said Jen Voorhees, immediate past president of BID and its special events chairman.

“We are excited about the turnout so far.”

Also happy were the city firefighters, who won $250 for their chili against eight other competitors.

Ed Martelle, president of the firefighters’ union, said the firefighters worked as a group on the chili. Each firefighter tasted the mixture and offered suggestions for improvement.

He said the group decided to get involved to help the BID fundraiser.

Melissa Hohenforst, president of BID, was so pleased with the event she is “looking to do this next year.”

She and her husband, Scott, own the City National Common Building and donated the space for the BID event. The money raised will be used to build a micro-park, called a parklet, on North Main Street, just off the intersection with Fulton Street.

Bids are due April 10 to create the parklet out of a parking space with the aim of finishing it by mid-June–“a place to sit down and enjoy downtown,” said Hohenforst.

The other chili competitors were the Gloversville police department, Mayor Dayton King, Gloversville BID, Gloversville Public Library, the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, the Fulton County Coroner’s Office, the Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market board of directors and city mayoral candidate Bill Rowback, himself a firefighter.

Donating the beer were Green Wolf Brewing Co. of Middleburgh and Stump City Brewing of Gloversville.

Schmoozing was part of Saturday’s event. “I’m Bob and we’re hungry,” said Bob Murphy of Mayfield. He and his wife, Debbie, were hanging at a table with Al Zlueckert of Bethpage, Long Island.

“Tasting beer and chili is not a bad idea,” Bob said.

“They did a great job,” said Zlueckert, who was impressed by the event.

City fire chief Tom Groff was seated with his wife, Lisa, and daughter Kerrigan, all of Northville, and Jacob Campione of Gloversville.

“We wanted to be here to promote the growth of the city and be represented here,” said Lisa Groff.

Artist Debbie MacFarland provided the flowers, cactus and other decorations for the event.