Canton seeking up to $1 million for mixed-use building on Grasse River
Friday, December 15, 2017 - 2:33 pm

By ADAM ATKINSON

CANTON -- The municipal economic development office here submitted its application Friday, Dec. 15 for a state grant which, if approved, may supply up to a $1 million for the construction of a mixed-use building on four lots along the Grasse River by a private developer.

Canton is applying for a Restore NY grant which would greenlight the project, Canton Economic Development Director Leigh Rodriguez said earlier this week.

The project would involve demolishing a 5,666 square-foot blighted building at 24, 25, 27 and 29 Riverside Drive. Rehabilitation of the site and the construction of a retail and residential complex there is being proposed by local businesswoman Hailey Hodge, owner of the Luna boutique at 18 Park St. The property is now owned by Donald O’Neill. Hodge and O’Neill are in negotiations for the sale of the property, said Rodriguez.

In a story posted last week on NorthCountryNow.com and in a recent print edition of North Country This Week, the project was erroneously identified as being connected to the separate proposal to rehabilitate the former M.R. Bell property at 30 Riverside Drive, which is across the street. The two are not the same project. The author respectfully apologizes to the readership for the error.

A public hearing was held Monday, Dec. 11 regarding the submission of the Restore NY grant with a small number of residents in attendance. No opposition was voiced to the application or the project in general.

The grant is offered through Empire State Development’s fifth round of the Restore NY Communities Initiative. Funding through the program is available for projects to demolish, deconstruct, rehabilitate or reconstruct vacant, abandoned, condemned and surplus properties. The work can include site development like water, sewer, and parking.

Hodge’s project would be a key piece in larger plans to redevelop the Canton waterfront, Rodriguez said.

The building to be constructed in the proposal would be three stories, with just over 19,000 square feet total. The first story would feature 7,678 square feet divided into three commercial or retail units. The second and third stories would have nine residential units divided from 11,554 square feet. A parking area would be constructed at 24 Riverside Drive to service the building.

The total project is estimated at $3.18 million, leaving about $2 million in private investment to be secured by Hodge.

A description of the project distributed at the public hearing described the project as beginning a “Riverside Renaissance as outlined in the Canton Grasse River Waterfront Revitalization Plan.”

A Department of State grant has additionally been secured for the 25, 27, 29 Riverside Drive lots to install public access to the Grasse River which would allow the future development of a whitewater park there. Hodge’s plans incorporate a design that facilitates that public access to the river.

While identified as a brownfield by the village, contamination at the site currently is not suspected. An environmental study to verify that will be conducted once the project is greenlighted.

Village Mayor Michael Dalton said in an email earlier this week that in addition to the support voiced at the public hearing Monday, a preliminary review of the project by the village planning board raised no objections or concerns to the proposal.

“The developer is a local person that is willing to step forward and make a commitment to the Canton community. We need more young people like her to have a vision for Canton and its future,” said Dalton.