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River Agency changes application guidelines

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CANTON - The St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency has changed its application guidelines for its community grants to streamline the award process and speed up 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.

“It’s been a very successful program so far,” said county Industrial Development Agency CEO Patrick J. Kelly. “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.”

The agency is looking for immediate job creation.

This year, funding that had been aside for four out of the 12 projects that were due to expire last year were extended. In order to curtail future extensions and make more jobs immediately available, the application now includes a section for applicants to illustrate their project’s timeline 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 also be given higher preference.

As in previous years, there is no maximum or minimum application amount. Also, applicants and their projects must principally be located in 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, which are now available, will be received until March 1.

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