The committee abandons the Eccentric Club project of Gloversville DRI
The Local Planning Committee (LPC) consensus for the Gloversville Downtown Revitalization Initiative’s $10 million grant on Wednesday eliminated the proposed $844,100 Eccentric Club public event space project from the list of projects seeking to take advantage of the grant.
The LPC held its third public meeting on Wednesday as part of its process of determining which economic development projects to include in the “strategic investment plan,” the final list of projects asking the state for money from the $10 million grant.
After a two-hour meeting, held virtually via Zoom, the committee discussed the 20 proposed DRI projects and decided to eliminate the Eccentric Club project, while flagging six other projects as still having important questions that need to be answered before they are not taken into account. inclusion in the final strategic investment plan.
Here are the six projects that must provide additional answers by the next public meeting of the PLC on June 5:
• Rehabilitation of 13 North Main St. into a “Happy Mug” café, seeking $945,000 in DRI funding, or 38% of the total project cost of $2.5 million.
• Renovation of 18 E. Fulton St. into modern commercial office space, seeking DRI funding of $300,000, or 60% of the total project cost of $500,000.
• Main Street Corner Project to rehabilitate 2-10 S. Main St. to add six residential units, seeking $962,000, or 40% of the total project cost of $2.4 million.
• Revitalization of the Daniel Hayes Mill project to create 20 lofts, seeking DRI funding of $1.6 million, or 40% of the $3.9 million project cost.
• Schine Memorial Hall Arts Initiative to renovate the third floor of 30 N. Main St. to house the Storto Glove Museum and create a coworking space for artists, seeking $345,906 in DRI funding , or 85% of the total project cost of $406,948.
• Complete the Piazza Project to transform 12-18 S. Main St. into a public gathering place for weekly concerts and outdoor movies, seeking $435,000 in DRI funding, 60% of the total project cost of 725 $000.
“For these projects, there has not yet been enough information from the sponsors of these projects,” said David Halloran, LPC member and superintendent of the Gloversville Expanded School District. “The chairs and the committee want to give more time. I don’t want to say that any of them are ‘dead on arrival’, but there is a general feeling that some of them won’t make it through due to a lack of communication, but d ‘others are still communicating and only miss a few items or questions that were raised today that need to be answered before making a final decision on their inclusion [in the Strategic Investment Plan].”
The Eccentric Club project was the first of 20 potential projects eliminated after a discussion between the LPC on Wednesday. The Eccentric Club was requesting $253,230 in DRI funding, 30% of the total project cost, to help pay for roof replacement, an elevator and other renovations for the private club’s 109 N. Main St. location .
One of the aims of the Eccentric Club’s proposed project was to allow the club’s long-closed third floor to reopen as a unique event space that could be rented out to members of the public for large gatherings, such as wedding receptions, something the club had. the ability to do in the past, but has been closed for decades.
New York State Regional Director Empire State Development Corp. Mike Reese, one of the consultants advising the 15-member LPC, told the group that in the past he had worked on a DRI grant for another community where the LPC decided not to include a project proposed by a club. private. He said he believed officials at the Empire State Development Corp. of New York State would likely not support state funding for a project at a private club where members “pay a membership fee.”
Daniel Lampan, a new State Department official attending the meeting, told the LPC that there was “no hard stop on these types of projects, but we share all of the concerns raised by Mike Reese, and we encourage the LPC to consider these same concerns, but we will stop short of telling them what to do.
LPC member Geoff Peck, who is president of the Eccentric Club, as well as chairman of the Gloversville Planning Board and vice president of population health for Nathan Littauer Hospital, said he would like comment, but acknowledged that he had a conflict of interest.
Mayor Vince DeSantis, co-chairman of the LPC and member of the quirky club, said he could not weigh in on the club’s bid either.
“I also have a conflict, and I just don’t think it’s appropriate for myself or Geoff to talk about it,” DeSantis said.
LPC co-chairman Wally Hart, director of Lexington ARC’s community and business development division, questioned whether the quirky club’s plan to form a non-profit corporation for its foundation as part of its renovation plan of the building had to be considered as a factor in the process.
Hart said it’s clear that public and private sector consultants assisting the LPC have indicated that the quirky club’s proposal is unlikely to be viewed favorably by the state for DRI funding. He asked the committee if a final “project profile” for the club’s application should be created for final review as part of the strategic investment plan.
Several LPC members, including Halloran, city resident Christine Pesses, Lashawn Hawkins, founder of the nonprofit “I Can Breathe and I Will Speak,” and 1st Ward Councilwoman Marcia Weiss, all stated that although the Eccentric Club is an important building for downtown Gloversville, the project does not really align with DRI’s goals.
After acknowledging his conflict, the LPC consultants asked DeSantis as co-chair of the LPC what his interpretation of the committee’s consensus on the quirky club’s proposal was.
“Based on what I’m hearing, I think this should be eliminated,” DeSantis said.
No PLC member offered support to keep the quirky club’s proposal in the mix for potential DRI funding and the committee moved on to other matters.