Schoharie County cleans up with REDC grants


By Patsy Nicosia

Sharon Springs, the Village of Middleburgh, and the Schoharie Creek Trail were among the big winners when more than $763 million in Regional Economic Development Council grants was awarded last Tuesday in Albany.
Four different projects netted the Village of Sharon Springs more than $2 million as Schoharie County brought home a total of $9.2 million.
“It’s probably the best we’ve ever done,” County Administrator Steve Wilson told supervisors Friday.
Thursday, Sharon Springs Mayor Doug Plummer was still celebrating his village’s awards.
And though he’s thrilled with the $1 million for water system upgrades, Mayor Plummer was over the moon with the two grants the Klinkhart Hall Arts Center got for a total of $720,000.
“That’s going to impact everything that goes on here,” he said. “It’s going to open so many doors—we’re already getting calls from people who want to be a part of this.”
The Klinkhart Hall grants will be used for roof repairs and to begin renovation of the building for use as an arts gallery, theater, and community space.
“To think these folks have faith in the project is exciting and humbling,” Mayor Plummer said.
Other winners in Sharon Springs were the Schoharie County Industrial Development Agency, which has been working with Beekman 1802 to put together funding for a new 12,000 square-foot warehouse.
That project, which would have Carver Companies of Schoharie build the facility and then lease it to Beekman 1802, was awarded $325,000—about 20 percent of the total cost, said IDA Executive Director Ron Filmer.
“What’s next is the details,” Mr. Filmer said, “but it’s a solid project that will allow them to expand and create jobs locally.
The Village of Middleburgh got $1 million to repair and replace its aging sewer plant and in Schoharie, a $506,500 grant will be used along with funding from the Appalachian Regional Commission to build a two-mile trail along the Schoharie Creek and the village’s first canoe-kayak launch.
The ARC money will pay for the engineering, construction documents, and bids, and the state money will cover construction.
“Now that we have the state money, we can begin the design and engineering so that by the time the state contract is ready” [likely at least six months] “we can be ready for construction,” said Nan Stolzenburg, one of those who’s been working on it.
SUNY Cobleskill is another big winner with a $625,000 grant for its Farm and Food Business Incubator, and $5 million to business partner Empire State Greenhouses, which is looking to build a 290,000 square-foot, $83 million vertical greenhouse project on the college-owned Coby Farm.
The year-round business would mean 75 fulltime jobs growing mushrooms and medicinal crops.
Finally, Century Tree Brewing in Schoharie got a $60,000 grant for a state-of-the-art farm brewery, the Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship, based in Oneonta, got $100,000 to help it development a comprehensive plan for regional agriculture, and the Schoharie River Center in Burtonsville got $25,000 for “Art in Public Places: Framing Art and Nature.”
All of these projects are considered part of the Mohawk Valley, which got a total of $85.4 million in 2018 REDC awards.