Clinton Street Businesses Eligible for Better Buffalo Fund Grant
Buffalo Main Street Initiative aimed at revitalizing Clinton St. business strip!
This article is compliments of Tom Olejniczak, Editor of the East Clinton Shopper. This is also available in hard copy on the cover of the March issue of the East Clinton Shopper.
Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Buffalo Billion Dollar pledge is making its way to the neighborhoods of Buffalo through the Better Buffalo Fund, and Kaisertown is on the list.
The Clinton St. business strip has been identified as an eligible target area for the second round of grant funding under the Better Buffalo Fund through the Buffalo Main Street Grant Initiative. The BMSI program is designed to revitalize mixed-use business strips like Clinton St. and boost the economy of neighborhood centers as a part of the City and State’s synergistic approach to recreating attractive and sustainable walkable neighborhoods in areas like Kaisertown.
Under the BMSI grant, owners of commercial and mixed-use (commercial storefronts with attached residential units) properties on Clinton St. between Bailey Ave. and the city line are eligible to apply for funding up to $50,000 per commercial property and $150,000 per mixed-use property, for an available grand project total of $300,000 in funding for the business strip. In the first round of funding, areas that received grants saw an average of $5,000 to $10,000 in improvements per property. Eligible projects include interior and exterior upgrades and repairs to commercial and mixed-use residential units and storefront façade improvements. The program also allows the grant administrator to apply for up to $25,000 in streetscape improvements for the target area, which could be applied to items such as benches, planters, trash receptacles, and public art.
The BMSI grants are structured on a reimbursement basis, meaning that grantees would be required to finance eligible improvement projects up front in order to receive a 75% cost reimbursement after the project is completed. The ultimate goal of the program is to create a lasting visual impact on the business strip that will translate into increasing commerce at existing businesses, attracting new businesses to the area, and improving the overall local neighborhood economy.
The grant application deadline is Monday, March 28th, so any interested Clinton St. commercial/mixed-use property owners are encouraged to contact Councilman Fontana at 851-5151 to discuss eligibility requirements and to begin the program application process. Unfortunately, residential properties on Clinton St. are not eligible to participate in the program, but residential owners may also contact Fontana’s office for information on grant and low-interest loan programs specifically for residential property owners through the Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center.
Since the inception of the Buffalo Main Street Initiative Grant program, Councilman Fontana requested that the Clinton St, Lovejoy St, and East Delevan Ave. business strips be included for eligibility in the program. This potential development will have a concentrated impact on the Clinton St. business strip, continuing the momentum that began with Councilman Fontana’s streetscape project that included brand new street lights, partial sidewalk replacement, and holiday decorations. A redeveloped streetscape lined with rejuvenated storefronts will strengthen Kaisertown’s position as an attractive place to live and do business, and will further stabilize the community for years to come.