State funding holdup stalls eCenter work

By Brian Sweeney
A delay in promised funding has stalled the eCenter project underway on Margaretville’s Main Street. The eCenter is being created by Delaware County Industrial Development Agency (IDA). Glenn Nealis, executive director of the IDA, told the News last week that $250,000 in promised funding from New York State has not arrived, halting work.
The money was secured by State Senator John Bonacic.
Mr. Nealis said the anticipated money is from a Bond Act and should not be affected by the lack of state budget passage.
A new roof has been installed on the former Masonic Hall (across from NBT Bank) and the historic building has been completely renovated on the exterior. The work to date has been funded with $250,000 from the Catskill Watershed Corp- oration. Other funding sources include $79,000 from an Appalachian Regional Com-mission grant and $80,000 is pending from the USDA.
“We’ve had three legal review and three environmental reviews and the state has never come through with the promised money,” said a frustrated Mr. Nealis.
“The Bond Act money is dedicated for this purpose, but the state is still not releasing it,” he added.
He noted that once the money is received, the project could get back on track pretty quickly. Mr. Nealis said that installation of interior walls, sheetrocking and painting is the primary work that needs completion.
“Originally, we were hoping to have it opened last January. If it flows, we believe that we can get a contractor in there and finish in probably a month,” he explained. “It could move along quickly, if the state moves along quickly.”
Mr. Nealis pointed out that local communities will benefit from the project.
“You can’t tell me that Margaretville couldn’t use two or three businesses on Main Street,” he remarked.
The eCenter is designed as a business incubator in which startup ventures are housed to determine the viability of their business plan. For a business to become an eCenter tenant, an application and business plan must be filed. When a business sets up in the eCenter, all the office equipment, utilities, Internet access, maintenance and shared office equipment are provided. The eCenter will also supply any additional support, such as help with employees and financial assistance.