Jaime Studd - Village officials are hoping that they will receive grant monies while applying again for a for a Consolidated Funding Application grant through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council in order to install sidewalks along the spillway. Shown here is a narrow spillway bridge with little room for pedestrian crossing.
By JAIME STUDD
For the Express
NORTHVILLE — Village officials are hoping the second time is the charm when in comes to applying for a Consolidated Funding Application grant through the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council in order to install sidewalks along the spillway.
With the help of the Fulton County Planning Department, the village of Northville will apply for a share of $750 million available to the state’s 10 regional economic development councils in the second round of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s regional economic development council program.
The village was denied a similar request last year.
“What we’re trying to do is put a sidewalk all the way across the spillway so that for people walking down through there, it won’t be such a hazard,” said Northville Mayor Jim Groff. “It’s dangerous.”
Eventually, Groff said, he would love to be able to install sidewalks on either side of South Main Street where it crosses the spillway, as well as a fishing pier, but a single sidewalk would go a long way toward alleviating the danger to pedestrians for the time being.
“Right now, we’re trying to get it on one side or the other, whichever is the most feasible,” said Groff. “The premier reason is safety. It would dress up the area and make it look nice down through there. It would be more of a nice entrance to the village, but safety is our biggest concern.”
“A lot of people walk today for exercise,” Groff added. “There are people that would like to walk to town, but they don’t because they’re afraid to walk across the spillway because it’s so narrow.”
Groff said that a significant amount of vehicles travel through that area each day, further complicating the dangerous issue.
“They did a traffic study last year through Fulton County,” said Groff. “I was amazed at the traffic going through there on a daily basis. It’s quite significant.”
Groff said he believes the village’s application was turned down in the first round because of the number of priority projects created by last summer’s historic flooding.
In addition to Fulton County, the MVREDC includes Schoharie, Montgom-ery, Herkimer, Otsego and Oneida counties.
“Last year was a really bad year for everybody,” Groff said.
Groff said the village is hoping a CFA grant will be able to fund most, if not all, of the more than $900,000 the sidewalk project is expected to cost.
“Basically, the application that we applied for last year, we’ve retouched it and freshened it up,” and we’ve turned it over to Fulton County,” said Groff.
Groff said county officials are helping to finalize the application, and will include the village’s request in a pool of applications representing the county that will be submitted directly to the regional council.
Michael Reese, Executive Director of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, formerly the Fulton County Economic Development Corporation, declined to confirm whether or not Northville’s application was among the ten recently submitted by Fulton County to be considered for “priority project” status.
“I haven’t answered any specific questions, since it’s not a final decision on my part or on Fulton County’s part as to which projects end up being considered priority projects,” said Reese. “I think it would be unfair to all of the applicants who have submitted ideas to start identifying them and then find out later on that some were considered priority and some were not considered priority projects.”
Reese said the projects county officials have submitted as priorities will likely be revealed some time in August through the regional council’s announcement process.
“Obviously, the final decision doesn’t rest with me or with Fulton County,” said Reese.
“The process itself is an open process, so there may be a business that I’m not currently working with here in Fulton County that is filling out a CFA and I won’t know that until the council gets all the CFA’s in,” he added.
In the hope of improving the odds, Groff is encouraging anyone in support of the sidewalk project to make their wishes known to the area’s representatives.
“One of the things we were hoping is if anybody who is positive about the project, would write their state senator and state assemblyman and even the governor,” said Groff. “The more people that write in, the more they listen.”
Groff said letters could also be sent to the village offices.
“I encourage residents to contact,” said Groff, “or send the letter to us and we’ll send it on.”
Last year, MVREDC was awarded 60.2 million for 59 projects.
Applications for the second round of consolidated funding applications are due July 16.
A decision on exactly who will receive money in this round of funding is not expected to occur the fall.