Grants will help rehab apartment houses

SARANAC LAKE – The village Board of Trustees has agreed to hand out $150,000 in grant money to fix up a trio of apartment houses.

In separate resolutions approved Monday night, the board authorized village Community Development Director Jeremy Evans sign agreements with the owners of 51 Front St., 9 Prescott Place and 122 Bloomingdale Ave.

The properties will be upgraded with money from a $400,000 grant the village received in 2010 from New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal. Each property owner will get a zero-percent interest, five-year deferred-payment loan.

The resolution for 51 Front St. says owner Shane Lawrence will receive $44,997 to replace some of the building’s windows and put in new insulation.

At 9 Prescott Place, owners Gary and Winefred Martin will also receive $44,997 to put in new windows and add insulation.

The apartment house at 122 Bloomingdale Ave., owned by Charles Nicastro, will receive $59,996 to replace the building’s roof and upgrade its electrical system.

Since the grant funding was awarded, the village has used it to rehabilitate roughly 10 apartments in four other apartment buildings. With the funding approved this week, another seven units will be upgraded, Evans said.

He said the program has seen a “decent” amount of interest.

“We never get interest from the buildings that most need the work,” he said. “We’ve had a few applicants that, once they understood the parameters, weren’t interested, and that happens. The requirements include having to put up a 25 percent match, which can be a deal-breaker for some people. There are also rent limits for five years, and income limits for your tenants. Somebody may be interested but they may have one or more tenants that are over income, and it just doesn’t work out.”

The village’s contract with the state will expire in October. Evans said there is additional funding available for interested property owners.

“We had a lot of interest at the beginning, and we’ve worked through the list, done a few, and these are pretty much the last from that batch,” he said. “A few have fallen through for various reasons. We will have some money available to do a few more. There’s no guarantees, but we’re absolutely accepting applications for work that would have to be done this summer.”