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Sen. Borrello, Gov. Hochul praise Wellsville Depot project, award grant money; Olean mall to get facelift

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By JOHN ANDERSON

When the Wellsville Sun broke the news the Erie Railroad Depot in Wellsville was sold and interviewed the new owners, they said the restoration project would be a combination of private funds and state grants.

State Senator George Borrello, who represents Wellsville in the New York State Senate’s 57th District, backed a Restore New York Communities Initiative. This week, New York State Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Wellsville would receive $500,000 to go toward the depot project, which is expected to cost between $2.4 and $3 million.

Sen. Borrello told the Wellsville Sun the grant will preserve a piece of history in the region. He also applauded the village, the owners and the state.

“One of many great assets we have in Western New York and the Southern Tier are historical landmarks that contribute greatly to our tourism, quality of life and economy,” Borrello said. “I am thrilled that one of those historical gems is poised to come back to life, thanks to this Restore NY grant, which I strongly supported.

“The transformation of this former railroad depot into an event center and museum will preserve a piece of the region’s history while giving it new life for generations to come,” Borrello continued. “My congratulations go out to Mayor Randy Shayler and the talented team behind this visionary effort and my thanks go out to Governor Hochul and Empire State Development for making this vital investment in our community.”

On his Facebook page, Borrello wrote, “Congratulations Village of Wellsville, LC Whitford and Wayne Paving, Concrete, Gravel, who are redeveloping the vacant Erie Railroad Depot. I am very proud to have supported these grant awards.”

Hochul said in a press release more than $102 million has been awarded to 64 projects through the Restore New York Communities Initiative. Restore New York supports municipal revitalization efforts across the state, helping to remove blight, reinvigorate downtowns, and generate economic opportunity in communities statewide. The program, administered by Empire State Development, is designed to help local governments revitalize their communities and encourage commercial investment, improve the local housing stock, put properties back on the tax rolls and increase the local tax base.

Of the Wellsville award, the state said, “Village of Wellsville, Depot Project: ($500,000) The Depot project is an adaptive reuse project to restore the historic structure located at 10 Depot Street in Wellsville, NY formerly known as the Wellsville Erie Depot. The primary function will be an event center catering to weddings, private parties and village events. A portion of the open floor space will be dedicated to a railroad museum. The concept will be to keep the museum displays and exhibits isolated to the perimeter walls and divide the space with an operable glass wall. This will create flexibility for the museum to have dedicated space while also giving the option of opening the wall to utilize the entire floor area for a large event.”

“These Restore New York grants will help to reimagine downtowns across our state and transform vacant, blighted, and underutilized buildings into vibrant community anchors,” Governor Hochul said in a release. “Thanks to $102 million of state investment, we are breathing new life into communities from Hudson to North Hempstead, jumpstarting new economic activity, and ensuring that New York State continues to be a place where people come to live, work, and raise their families.”

The state said more than $19 million has been awarded to three municipalities in this round for special projects. The City of Albany will receive $9.75 million for the Central Warehouse project, the Village of Endicott in Broome County will receive $6 million to renovate the former IBM building, and the City of Utica in Oneida County will receive $4 million to rehabilitate the Mayro Building. Special projects are awarded to municipalities where a highly visible and blighted property causes severe economic injury and has a depressing effect on the overall economic development potential of the community.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Restore NY invigorates our urban centers and is a vital tool in the economic development tool kit for rebuilding communities that need it most. This funding will help local governments find solutions to blighted buildings so they can move forward towards a more vibrant future.”

In Olean, $1.25 million will go toward restoring the mall and tearing down space while fixing the roof.

The release said, “City of Olean, Olean City Centre Redevelopment: ($1.25 million) The renovation of the site will include re-facade and update to the building exterior, demolition and renovation of the common area ceilings and skylights, roof replacement and demolition of the former interior tenant spaces and former Bon-Ton space that will allow for the construction of street facing retail and upper floor affordable housing units. The project will result in numerous benefits to the region including the elimination of environmental contamination and blight; new mixed-use development; economic growth in terms of new businesses; creation of jobs and an expanded tax base, further advancing the community’s ongoing revitalization efforts.”

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