Marathon set to apply for NY Forward grant this summer

Village of Marathon mayor Scott Chamberlin talks with Board of Trustees members at its meeting on Wednesday. (Photo via Kaitlyn Hession of The Cortland Voice).

The village of Marathon announced at its Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday they are set to apply for a second-round NY Forward grant in July.

In March, village mayor Scott Chamberlin said Marathon is planning to apply for a NY Forward grant with the hope of using funds to give the main business district a major facelift.

The NY Forward program was created “to invigorate and enliven downtowns in New York’s smaller and rural communities, the type of downtowns found in villages, hamlets and other small, neighborhood-scale municipal centers,” according to the state’s website.

NY Forward was formed off the success of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). The state allocated $100 million for the first round of the NY Forward program.

The NY Forward program awards either $2.25 million or $4.5 million to selected municipalities.

The village met with Eric Mulvihill, economic development/community relations specialist at the Cortland County Business Development Corporation (BDC), back on March 29.

Village officials, along with a NY Forward committee comprised of local business owners and community members, discussed plans with Mulvihill to apply for the grant. Details on those plans and the village’s project wish list has yet to be determined.

Chamberlin noted in the past his inspiration by the villages of Homer and Moravia winning respective DRI and NY Forward grants in February. Homer was awarded $10 million, while Moravia received $2.25 million.

“It’s more about Main Street than anything else,” Chamberlin said at Wednesday’s meeting.

According to Chamberlin, Mulvihill and the BDC recommended the village wait to apply for a NY Forward grant next year. The village, however, is going forward with an application this year.

Village board member Rosemarie Fralick said at Wednesday’s meeting that Moravia applied for a state grant three times before receiving NY Forward funds this year.

“It may be difficult to get, but you won’t know until you try,” Chamberlin said, noting the village plans to apply every year until they are awarded a grant.