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Housing Council nets grants

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CANTON — The North Country Housing Council has been awarded or will administer more than $1.5 million in grants for building and housing needs in St. Lawrence County.

“It’s been a very good start to the year for us,” said Alan S. Hipps, executive director. “That’s kind of a banner year.”

The Housing Council is the recipient of a $200,000 grant through the North Country Regional Economic Development Council and the support of state Sen. Patricia A. Ritchie, R-Heuvelton, that will allow it to finish the renovation of its headquarters at 19 Main St. in Canton. Work on the building, which had to be gutted because of a mold problem, began in 2012 but then stalled for lack of money.

The Housing Council also raised about $13,000 toward the renovation.

The grant will allow completion of the work, most of it interior and to include a classroom for home buyer education, and for two upstairs apartments.

Construction could start within eight weeks.

The award includes $51,000 for Traditional Arts in Upstate New York for a kitchen.

“It’s the last part of our renovation project,” said TAUNY founder Varick A. Chittenden. “We’ve created a room for it already.”

In addition to preparing food for TAUNY events, the kitchen on the first floor could be used for teaching or demonstrations, Mr. Chittenden said.

The Housing Council also successfully applied for a $400,000 Community Development Block Grant for housing rehabilitation in the town of Fowler.

In addition, St. Lawrence County will receive $620,000 in direct home ownership money that could help 25 first-time home buyers. The Housing Council received $300,000 in state Affordable Housing funds that could benefit another 15 home buyers.

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