What Clayton plans to do with $10M from New York state

Published: Sep. 22, 2022 at 5:44 PM EDT
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CLAYTON, New York (WWNY) - New York is set to do another round of its economic competition. Communities try for big bucks to improve their downtowns. Clayton wants the money and we learn what’s on the wish list for the village along the St. Lawrence River.

Improvements big and small may be on the horizon for Clayton. Officials with the village’s Local Development Corporation say they’re hoping to score a Downtown Revitalization Initiative or New York Forward grant that could mean up to $10 million in state funding to help with $18 million worth of renovations.

“We reached out to all of our property owners, business owners. We asked what projects they would have if they would receive this funding,” said Kristi Dippel, executive director, Clayton LDC.

The so-called “transformational opportunities” range in cost from $4.5 million for an Antique Boat Museum expansion to a $75,000 effort to improve village signage. And there’s plenty in between.

“They’re going to add to our quality of life. Clayton is a great place to live. Great place to work. We want to bring more people here. More businesses, more people to live, and more to visit,” said Dippel.

One proposal would put $350,000 towards the Thousand Islands Land Trust’s discovery center. The proposed addition would turn TILT’s existing lobby into a museum dedicated to north country nature.

“The idea is for them to come visit. Come off of the Clayton River Walk and be inspired to go outside, get on the land and connect,” said Terra Bach, director of development and communications, TILT.

Leslie Rowland with the Thousand Islands Arts Center says, despite having several buildings in Clayton, they’re running out of space. The DRI money could change that.

“Have it be a little bigger. Be able to accommodate more students, more programs. And more importantly, as importantly, have a permanent textile display at all times,” she said.

Although nothing is set in stone, business owners expressed cautious optimism.

The LDC says Clayton should have an answer on the grant by the end of the year.