Small Town Revival program open to Lewis County communities

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LEWIS COUNTY, N.Y. (WWTI) — To manage upgrades in Lewis County communities, the county has launched a Small Town Revival Program.

This program specifically focuses on façade and streetscape improvements. According to the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce, this will aim to revitalize the “historic character and attractiveness of its villages and hamlets.”

Adding that “these improvements will help business growth and retention, enhance tourism, increase spending in the local economy, and reduce the number of blighted and vacant properties,” the Lewis County Chamber of Commerce stated in a press release.

Specifically, façade improvements will apply to mixed-use commercial buildings. Improvement projects can include awnings and canopies, interior display and exterior lighting, repair or replacement of façade windows, doors and paint, window boxes and permanent planters, entryway improvements, signage and awning and window lettering.

Streetscape improvement projects can include most permanent fixtures and public infrastructure. This will apply to permanent public art, gateway and wayfinding signage, street furniture, public fixtures such as kiosks and plaques, street trees and permanent landscaping, bike racks and similar active transportation infrastructure.

Ineligible expenses for façade and streetscape improvements include engineering or design costs associated with projects. Projects who do not receive funding will be given feedback on how to improve future proposals.

The program will provide up to 75% in funding for eligible improvements to mixed-use commercial buildings and streetscape enhancements. The Chamber added that the Façade and Streetscape Improvements program will be made possible through public and private investments.

The Façade and Streetscape Improvement Program will have two funding cycles. Recipients will have twelve months to complete project after being awarded funding. Projects are limited to one award.

Round one of the program opened on August 18 and will close on November 5. Award notifications will be sent out on December 1, 2021. The second round of the program will open on September 2, 2022, with applications due on November 4, 2022. Second round winners will be notified on December 2, 2022.

Projects will be reviewed by representatives from the Department of Planning and Community Development, Naturally Lewis, County Manager, Lewis County Historical Society and the Lewis County Board of Legislators. Municipal Zoning Officers will also participate in the project review process to ensure zoning regulation compliance.

Applications can be found on the Naturally Lewis website.

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