Regional Economic Development Council giving loans for cinema upgrades
State economic development money is being set aside to create a short-term loan fund that North Country movie theaters can use to pay for digital upgrades.
Meanwhile, major sewer projects in Bloomingdale and Saranac Lake have also been targeted for state funding.
Digital movie loan fund
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council announced in a Tuesday press release that it has reassigned some of its 2012 funds to help small, independent movie theaters convert from film to digital projection.
The Adirondack Economic Development Corporation will administer a short-term loan fund for those theaters. The effort will be coordinated with the Adirondack North Country Association and Adirondack Film Society, which have been raising private funds for 10 North Country theaters to convert to digital as part of the Go Digital or Go Dark Campaign.
The theaters – including the Palace in Lake Placid, the State in Tupper Lake and the Hollywood in AuSable Forks – have said they could be forced out of business after this year, when movies will no longer be released on film. The cost of the conversion ranges from $50,000 to $100,000 per screen.
The council’s press release didn’t say how much money has been set aside for the short-term loan fund and what previously approved project or projects the funds were reassigned from. When the program is completed, however, the council said it would re-lend the funds to businesses across the region for start-up or expansion projects.
The council also announced Tuesday it has approved infrastructure funds for nine projects.
The town of St. Armand would receive $422,000 for a series of major upgrades to its sewer system in and around Bloomingdale. The money will help to close a sizable funding gap on the project. The state has offered the town a $2 million grant and a 30-year, interest-free loan, but with the cost of the upgrades near $5 million, town officials have said they need more funding or else the annual payments on the loan will be more than their sewer district customers can afford.
The council said St. Armand’s sewer problems have prevented existing businesses from expanding and hindered the development of new businesses.
The village of Saranac Lake would see $190,000 for its LaPan Highway sewer main replacement project. The village has sought multiple sources of funding to reduce the project’s cost to its water and sewer customers, who have seen their rates jump 39 percent over the last two years due to costs associated with the village’s state-mandated, $12.5 million water system upgrade.
Myriad RBM, a biotech company that relocated from Lake Placid to the former village offices at 3 Main St. last year, wants to expand but can’t until the sewer project is done, the release states. Part of the sewer line that needs to be replaced runs under the parking lot the Myriad staff uses.
The council is hosting a series of workshops where applicants can learn more about the Consolidated Funding Application process and how to tap into the $760 million in state economic development funding being offered in the third round of the process.
The next workshop will be held at 9 a.m. June 26 at Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh, followed by a session at 9 a.m. June 28 at the Dulles State Office Building in Watertown.
Registration information for the workshops, along with more information about the application process, is available at regionalcouncils.ny.gov/content/north-country.
The deadline for applications is Aug. 12.