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Albany Officials Tout Small Business Façade Improvement Program

Albany government and business leaders announced Round 3 of the City’s Small Business Façade Improvement Program today.

"So there are a lot of moving pieces that need to be aligned and put into place so that we could be standing here today on Judson Street, in this neighborhood, in front of a building that previously had a red X, and that is now going to be a market that is going to be an amenity here in this community," said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, touting the soon-to-open “Neighborhood Fresh Market.” The Democrat notes the investment into the building’s façade, supported by a matching grant as part of the Façade Program’s second round, is part of a larger vision for the property. Interior renovations are also beginning in order to transform the building into a storefront expected to improve community access to healthy foods in West Hill.

Credit WAMC photo by Dave Lucas
Mayor Kathy Sheehan speaks with officials inside what will soon be the "Neighborhood Fresh Market" on Judson Street.

Andy Corcione of Capitalize Albany Corporation applauds the city's Small Business Façade Improvement Program.  "The program provides 50-50 matching grant funds that are reimbursable at project completion. Grant funds can be used for a wide array of façade improvements including windows, doors, siding, masonry repairs and signage."

Corcione says in the first two rounds of the program, 14 grants were awarded totaling $150,000. He emphasizes the program is all about supporting small businesses in the city, especially projects within the Albany Community Development Agency's neighborhood strategy areas.  "These awards were spread across eight different city neighborhoods. And 10 of the 14 awards were made within ACDA's neighborhood strategy areas. And one of the facts we're most proud of is once these projects are completed they're expected to create or retain over 100 full-time jobs in the city of Albany."

6th District Albany County Legislator Sam Fein says the appearance of the new corner store is a welcome addition to an underserved neighborhood.   "This store is really gonna mean a lot to this community, especially with everything going on right now, with all the violence. "

Albany City Treasurer Darius Shahinfar says removing the building’s ‘Red X' is a "big deal.”   "It is part and parcel of a larger whole, which is improving the value of properties in the city and improving the value of the properties that surround this building and this new store. And that's a big positive for city finances. We've been suffering death by a thousand cuts for so long, I'd say that we need a lot of band-aids. And although this may seem to be a small thing, just a corner store opening, a really nice corner store opening, it means a lot financially for the city as well as the community building aspects of it."

The market's interior and exterior renovations are underway with completion and eventual grand opening planned for early fall.

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
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