Historical Main St. businesses receive grant-funded facelift

Eleven properties on Main Street will undergo interior and exterior renovations using grant money awarded to the Village of Geneseo by the New York State Office of Housing and Community Renewal.

The office awarded the village with a total of $410,000 in December 2011 through the New York Main Street program designed to economically strengthen communities throughout the state.

According to Julie Marshall, deputy director of the Livingston County Industrial Development Agency, $334,500 will go toward building renovations, $30,500 will go toward grant administration and $45,000 will go toward “streetscape” additions, including new benches, bicycle racks, garbage receptacles and street lamps.

“We’ve done grant administration for the Village of Mount Morris, the Village of Lima and the Village of Dansville, and it has improved the look of their Main [Streets], it’s helped bring in new businesses, and it’s ultimately helped increase traffic on Main Street,” Marshall said.

Each property has been awarded a specific maximum amount of money, and property owners will be reimbursed for 75 percent of the projects’ totals. According to Marshall, property owners originally requested $706,000 for renovations.

Though the grant expires on Dec. 1, 2013, all renovations must be completed by Oct. 31, 2013 so that all reimbursement paperwork can be completed on time.

Marcia Podhorecki, owner of the Not Dot Shop at 127 Main Street, is using her award money for roofing repairs and window replacements. She said she believes the building improvements will help strengthen her business and in turn allow her to maintain a low rent price for building tenants.

“If a building looks nice, people are more apt to walk in,” Podhorecki said.

Because Geneseo’s Main Street is a national landmark, each building falls under the National Register of Historic Places. When replacing her older windows for more energy-efficient versions, Podhorecki must follow a specific set of architectural guidelines put in place to maintain the village’s historic feel.

According to Marshall, any building that uses grant money for renovations must follow these architectural guidelines.

“This is a chance for us to say how we want them to look,” she said.

According to the Livingston County News, other businesses participating in the New York Main Street program include Muddy Waters Cafe at 53 Main St., which has put up a new awning, Royaltees Screenprinting at 90 Main St., which will put decorative curved glass in its front upper story windows, and Touch of Grayce at 65 Main St., which will undergo various exterior facade improvements.

Properties set to undergo more extensive interior and exterior renovations include Miceli’s Deli at 82 Main St., owned by Sharon Miceli, the Wadsworth Homestead at the south end of Main, owned by William Wadsworth, and three connected buildings owned by Rocco Dragoni, which include B&D Art & Framing, Keri’s Cut Above, Marine Corps Recruiting, the Democratic Headquarters, Stage Coach Florists and University Hots.

The split shop at 97 Main St., owned by Mark Scoville and occupied by barber Richard Peraino, is one of the oldest buildings on Main Street and will undergo significant interior and exterior renovations.

The renovations, which include new electrical wiring, will require Peraino to vacate the building, and though Scoville has offered to allow him to come back after the project is complete, Periano said he has opted to retire.

“The Scoville family has treated me more than fair,” he said. “Business is business … I understand fully.”