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River Agency grants up for grabs

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LOUSIVILLE - The St. Lawrence River Valley Redevelopment Agency is accepting applications for its 2014 community development and environmental improvement grants.

The River Agency received $16 million from the New York Power Authority in 2010. Each year, the agency’s board and members of the St. Lawrence County Industrial Development Agency’s Local Development Corp. review applications and award up to 5 percent of those funds for economic development projects in the county.

In 2013, River Agency and IDA members approved loans and grants totaling $538,092 for 11 community projects aimed at economic development.

The projects ranged from St. Lawrence County recreational trail updates to partially funding the construction of the county’s new fire training facility in West Potsdam.

The River Agency will spend up to $506,330 this year on community development and environmental improvement projects.

That amount is down $50,000 from 2013.

Applications last year were measured on a 100-point scale, with the number of jobs created scoring the highest points. Last year, the agency focused on leveraging grant funding from other sources.

“The intent is to improve each year to make it more efficient and try to find ways to create the greatest community and environmental impact,” Industrial Development Agency CEO Patrick J. Kelly said Tuesday.

For the fourth year of awarding the grants, the River Agency reduced the amount of points needed for employment and wage impact and reversed its leverage policy.

“We would now like people to use our money to access money they otherwise wouldn’t,” Deputy IDA Director Thomas A. Plastino said Wednesday. “The key thing they are looking to do is to get more people to apply and to use our money to provide local match necessary to blast loose more money from outside agencies.”

Applications will be due March 1.

The grants will be awarded in May.

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