By Jim Krencik
Medina Journal-Register — MEDINA — The Orleans County Chamber of Commerce is still trying to drum up initial interest in a program aimed at boosting the exteriors of village businesses and houses. Luckily, they have an asset that makes for an easy sell — free money.
The Chamber is administering a privately-funded $200,000 grant that is available for use on any commercial or residential property within Medina’s boundaries. The grant will fund for up to $20,000 in matching funds for each project.
Chamber Executive Director Kathy Blackburn said the first round of funding disbursements will be made at the end of this month, but few applications have been sent to the Chamber’s Albion office. None have been for residential projects.
“We want to see people take advantage of this now,” Blackburn said Tuesday before the monthly Medina Business Association meeting. “The applications are out there and it’s not too complicated for home owners.”
The Chamber is hosting an informational meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the Lee-Whedon Library, 620 West Avenue.
Blackburn said that the grant is a rare opportunity for residents, landlords and property investors to get assistance for building improvements with nearly no strings attached. There’s no income requirement for the grant, and only two proposals from licensed contractors are required.
The funding can be used for any exterior work, with potential projects including siding, roofing, window and door projects.
“It’s free money for anyone who want to do exterior work,” Blackburn said.
Unlike government-funded grant programs that require business and home owners to pay the projects total cost upfront, the pilot program requires only the applicant’s half to be paid. The Chamber will receive the bill for the other half and allocate the grant funding to the contractor.
For more information about the grant or to download an application for funding, visit orleanschamber.com/grant-program.
• The Chamber is welcoming state and local representatives and officials from the New York Business Council later this month for a luncheon at Tillman’s Village Inn.
The event, which is being held Jan. 25, costs $25 but is open to the public. Scheduled to speak are State Sen. George Maziarz, Assembly members Steve Hawley and Jane Corwin and Orleans County Legislature Chairman David Callard.
The Chamber is also hosting an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. tonight at their Albion headquarters, 102 N. Main St.