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By DAVID CAMPHOUSE
Barry’s city council – at its Monday, Oct. 4, meeting – decided to expand eligibility for the city’s interior rehabilitation grant program, so that all businesses within Barry’s TIF district can participate in the program. Previously, only businesses within Barry’s historic central business district had been considered for funding by the grant program, which was rolled out late this spring.
Barry’s TIF district boundaries include businesses in the city’s central business district, along Rte. 106, in Barry’s industrial park and on the site of the Apple Basket.
Barry City Administrator Jeff Hogge explained that interior rehab grant is designed to assist commercial property owners with interior renovations in buildings within the TIF district.
“The city put $25,000 in a fund,” Hogge said. “The grant will pay for materials needed for interior improvements. The business or property owner is responsible for the labor.”
Only in its first year, the grant has so far been utilized by the Bainbridge Street Café to perform work in the back of the restaurant. Interest in the grant program, Hogge said, has been received by other business owners.
Barry’s TIF district was created in 2008, according to Hogge, as a way for the city to retain property taxes in the community in order to reinvest the tax dollars within the boundaries of the TIF district to improve the area.
“It’s designed for blighted areas,” Hogge said. “The idea is that when the TIF district dissolves, the area can stand on its own. It’s just another way for us to help out.”
The city also approved paying the second pay request for the construction of a new water main to the Ascend cannabis growing facility, located on the grounds of the former Apple Basket. The approved payment was in the amount of $51,438.38.
Ascend is paying for the installation of the new water line up front, but the city will credit back the cost of the installation over time by crediting Ascend’s water bill.
According to Hogge, a new wing of the Ascend plant, which is fed by the new water main was originally scheduled to open this Friday, Oct. 8.
Also discussed by the city council was a request by a property owner to extend Front Street to the west to accommodate the construction of a new home. No action was taken during the meeting on the request.
The city had planned to commence street improvements on Greene and Main streets using the community’s Motor Fuel Tax (MFT) funds, however the city was unhappy with the lone bid received to perform the work.
Hogge said that the city elected to postpone MFT street work until next spring in the hopes of receiving better quotes for the work.
“We decided to punt it down the road to May,” Hogge said. “Hopefully, we’ll have more bids. We’ll have access to the new MFT funds, and we can hopefully do more.”
The council also recognized Barry’s public works employees for their work to prepare for and clean up after the past weekend’s Barry Apple Festival.