CANTON The St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency has changed application guidelines for community grants to streamline the award process and speed growth in St. Lawrence County.
Since the agency was granted $16 million in 2010 for economic development, it is contracted to allocate 5 percent of its total funds toward community development projects each year.
This year, the agency has allocated $554,325 for community development and environmental improvement projects.
Its been a very successful program so far, county Industrial Development Agency CEO Patrick J. Kelly said. As with any endeavor, it can always be improved. We tried to add a little more clarity to the process to make it as straightforward and clear as possible.
Many of the changes are subtle, Mr. Kelly said, with each change focused specifically on the goal of job creation.
There has been a change in order to provide more clarity and definition of the scoring section, Mr. Kelly said. This is so applicants have a sense of more of what the agency is looking for.
What the agency is looking for: immediate job creation.
This year, funding that had been set aside for four of the 12 projects that was due to expire last year was extended. In order to curtail future extensions and make more jobs immediately available, the application now includes a section for applicants to illustrate their projects time line toward completion.
Funds are awarded based on a point system. Projects that can be started within 30 days of approval and completed within six months will be given more points, Mr. Kelly said.
Overall, the agency wants to see activity and a positive return and quick implementation, Mr. Kelly said.
Also, projects with at least 10 percent of funding provided by other sources will be given higher preference.
As in previous years, there is no maximum or minimum application amount. Applicants and their projects must be located principally in the county.
The purpose of these changes was to provide more clarity at the outset, Mr. Kelly said. The more clarity you provide, the easier it is for applicants to get a sense and understand whether their project is going to be received favorably. That is a small, but important difference.
Applications will be received until March 1.