Rotterdam town officials came under fire at this week's meeting of the Hamburg Street Merchants Association for the administration's decision to apply for Restore NY grant money for the Curry Road redevelopment project instead of the Grand Union property on Hamburg Street.
About 40 Hamburg Street area businesses owners and residents attended the Merchants Association meeting Monday, Sept. 24, and most said they felt that the town's latest move showed that Hamburg Street was being passed over again.
The Hamburg Street corridor has been deteriorating for the past 30 years, and attracting new business is tough because the corridor lacks the necessary infrastructure, including sewers.
At the last town board meeting, Wednesday, Sept. 12, the town's administration said it was going to apply for Restore NY grant money to help finance a private project to redevelop the town-owned Curry Road shopping plaza into a condominium complex with space for retail and professional offices.
Board member Robert Godlewski said he found out that the town was applying for the money for the Curry Road property during the executive session an hour before the regular meeting.
I understand their frustration, I really do, Godlewski said. "They really need an anchor store there."
Town officials, including Supervisor Steven Tommasone and board members John Mertz and Diane Marco, attended the Merchants meeting and said the reason they are applying for money for Curry Road is because there is a specific plan for the property, and application requirements have changed. Under the second round of funding, the town can only choose one property to apply for money to be used instead of three.
Mertz said he has an obligation to do what is right for the town, and if the town stands a better chance of getting grant money by using another property, he is not going to let another property owner who is upset change his mind.