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Grant would jump start significant project in Oriskany

Posted 1/16/23

For more than 200 years — since 1810, according to the historic marker — the expansive woolen mill has dominated the landscape in the village of Oriskany.

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Grant would jump start significant project in Oriskany

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For more than 200 years — since 1810, according to the historic marker — the expansive woolen mill has dominated the landscape in the village of Oriskany.

Planning Board members voted last week to apply for a $2 million Restore NY grant to help demolish and restore portions of the historic Waterbury Felt Mill. If received, the grant monies would be used toward both demolition and restoration work being planned for the site. Total project cost is estimated at $5 million, village officials said.

It would be money well spent — and could provide a vital boost to revitalization efforts in the historic village.

The Restore NY program is offered by Empire State Development, which provides up to $2 million per project to transform abandoned and neglected properties into modern 21st century buildings. Eligible projects include work to demolish, deconstruct, rehabilitate and reconstruct vacant, abandoned, condemned or surplus properties. In other words, it appears to be a program particularly tailored to Oriskany’s specific need.

Village officials as well as officials with Mohawk Valley EDGE and LaBella Associates have held informational and public feedback sessions, seeking comment and perspective from village residents.

The project has village residents rightfully considering what’s next and what remediation and renovation of the site could look like and what impacts it could have on the land of the nettles (as its Iroquois name suggests).

We applaud village and industrial development officials for their efforts to not just remove dilapidated sections of this historic parcel but in genuinely seeking out local views on the path forward as well as village residents who turned out, en masse, to share their thoughts, concerns and suggestions.

The result of this collaboration is to clean out portions of the former Waterbury Felt Mill site at 107 River St., the later incarnation of the first textile mill on the site, the Oriskany Manufacturing Company, which was incorporated in 1811. Restore those portions of the complex which can be fixed and preserved and then moving forward with a mixed development that can be specifically designed with the village’s needs and goals in mind.

As one business owner in the village, Carrie Moulton, owner of Stockdale’s Bar & Grill at 103 River St. said, she is happy to see progress happening with the historic building.

Like her, and many in Oriskany, its progress we’d love to see our state, via the Restore NY program, invest in.

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