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Scotia wants to spur growth

Despite the fact that Bob Powell, chairman of the Village of Scotia Planning Board, described development as slow in village, the board remains hopeful that the village will attract small business.

At the board's Monday, Aug. 4, meeting, Powell said the challenging economic times are, in part, to blame for little interest being shown in vacant spots along Mohawk Avenue, and the longer those parcels remain vacant, the more unsightly they become.

"As far as the property that Rite Aid was considering and the McDonald's property, the Planning Board has no knowledge of any activities that involve either of these parcels," said Powell.

Armon Benny, the Board of Trustees' liaison to the Planning Board, said the building inspector recently found the McDonald's property responsible for six violations, including garbage and building code issues. Benny said the owner of the property has until Aug. 24 to respond.

"It is important that the village be vigilant in holding vacant property owners accountable to the same standards we hold all taxpayers to," said Benny.

Mayor Kris Kastberg said the village is looking at two major business incentives to help bring businesses into the downtown area.

Kastberg said the village has a revolving loan fund and a faCade program, which was most recently was used to update Gabriel's Market. The revolving loan fund is a pool of money created from a Community Development Block Grant that is available for loan to local businesses. When those loans are paid back, the village can then re-lend the money. Loans can be used for construction, inventory or equipment, and the $25,000 borrowed must create a job.

Kastberg said there is about $100,000 in the fund now, and the village has just started re-lending the money this year.

"The faCade program is brand new and is currently in the application phase. The program is a matching grant model where the business owner puts up half of the money and the grant pays the other half. This program is run by the Schenectady Chamber [of Commerce], and at present is available to our BID [building improvement district] members. The BID is now applying for the program, and once accepted, individual members can apply for the grants," said Kastberg.

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