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Hammond seeks grant funding for scenic designation

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HAMMOND – The town could turn to a St. Lawrence County organization for grant funding to get the Thousand-Islands-St. Lawrence River region designated as a Scenic Area of Statewide Significance.

Town council members are considering seeking help from the St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency to pay for a consultant to move the process along.

The designation, through the state Department of State’s Office of Communities and Waterfronts, offers protection to scenic landscapes through review of projects requiring state or federal action, including direct actions, permits or funding.

“Since we’ve got this economic development committee and comprehensive plan, we should be looking at some of these grants available,” council member Howard W. Demick said. “We might be able to get some funding for it.”

The St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency received $16 million and 20 megawatts of low-cost power from the New York Power Authority in 2010 to spur economic growth in St. Lawrence County. The River Agency offers grant funding each year for community development projects that are likely to help economic development efforts.

If town council members are successful in securing a grant, the money would be used to hire a consultant to help officials determine what points in the Thousand Islands-St. Lawrence River region should be included in the Scenic Areas of Statewide Significance application. Town council members are expected to finalize an agreement this month with a consultant.

Town Supervisor Ronald W. Bertram said he and his committee received a $75,000 matching grant from the North Country Regional Economic Development Council that will go toward funding the application.

The grant will be split by 10 municipalities to fund in-kind research that will be included in the application packet.

So far the town has contributed to $20,000 in in-kind services to the project.

The kick off meeting to discuss the process will be held in March 28.

“The time has not yet been determined for an all-day meeting,” Mr. Bertram said. “The nuts and bolts of program will be explained and pretty much how it will work.”

The ultimate goal of the project is to gain name recognition and to promote the area to tourists, Mr. Bertram said.

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