YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown has received $413,760 in Restore New York grant money to be used for the relocation of the town’s highway and parks departments, Supervisor Michael Grace announced last month.
The funds were made available through the “Restore New York Communities Initiative,” which, according to a press release, has invested more than $200 million in the “removal and restoration of blighted properties—particularly in urban centers and distressed cities throughout New York State.”
Eligible for the grant are buildings that are: vacant, abandoned, condemned or surplus. With the money, the buildings can be: demolished, deconstructed, rehabilitated or reconstructed. The state allows for municipalities to use the funds for site development and infrastructure needs related to the project.
According to the state, municipalities must match 10 percent of the project’s cost. For towns with populations below 40,000 (Yorktown has a population of 36,000-plus, according to the 2010 census), the maximum amount of money available is $500,000 per project.
The grant will be put toward the downtown revitalization project, dubbed “Depot Square.” The project entails the demolition of the existing highway garage on Front Street; the sale of that land to a private developer; the construction of a three-story, 27,000-square-foot mixed-use building in its place; and the relocation of the highway and parks departments to town-owned property on Greenwood Street.
Last year, the town also received $375,000 in state funds awarded by Sen. Terrence Murphy. Excluding the money the town anticipates from the sale of the existing highway garage land, Grace said there is currently about $800,000 that can be put toward the project. He expects Yorktown will receive about $700,000 in additional state funding.
“That gives us ample room to put up a facility,” he said.
The project has received criticism from the public in the past due to town’s inability to pinpoint an exact cost of the project. Grace said the cost is difficult to project because of still-to-be-determined grants the town will continue to seek, and the unknown cost of materials for the project.
He added that it was his understanding that any public opposition to the project revolved around potential costs and that the large grants the town applied for initially may have led people to believe the project would cost more than was actually expected. However, he said, any applications were made strategically.
“If I’m asking for money from New York State, I want to make sure I have enough,” he said. “I’m not going to lowball my project.”
Grace predicts there will be at least $3.6 million of “non-local taxpayer funds” after the sale of the existing highway garage, which he said will have an estimated value of $1.5 million to 3 million, upon the completion of town-wide drainage projects slated for later this year. He said that with the combination of existing funds and the recently received grant money, the project will “not cost taxpayers anything.”
“At this point I think we’re not only going to break even but be ahead,” he said.