Auburn City Council

Four Auburn projects are submitting New York State Consolidated Funding Applications for various reasons. Thursday, city council will vote to formally approve the applications. 

AUBURN — Four Auburn organizations are seeking state grant funding through this year's New York State Consolidated Funding Application process, and they are asking Auburn city councilors for support.

Each organization is requesting funding for specific projects, and each grant application must be formally approved by the city council. Once the council approves each application, it's up to state agencies to determine the projects' funding eligibility. 

As one of these organizations applying for state funding, the Cayuga Museum of History & Art is submitting a CFA in hopes of turning a part-time curating position into a full-time one, said the museum's director, Kirsten Wise. If approved by city council, the application will go on to review by the state Council on the Arts. Wise said Tuesday that the museum is still crunching numbers to see how much funding it will apply for.

Auburn Public Theater is also applying through the state Council on the Arts. According to an Auburn City Council resolution draft, the theater would use the state funding for "additional staff support." The Citizen could not reach theater staff Tuesday regarding the grant application and the amount of funding the theater is applying for. 

Another CFA has been filed by the Seward House Museum. If awarded to the museum, the state grant — through the New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation — would be used to help rehabilitate the museum's barn and carriage house. "They're both in pretty rough shape," Facilities Manager Mitchell Maniccia said Tuesday. Maniccia said the museum is requesting $600,000 for structural rehab through this grant.  

As a fourth project tossing its name in for state aid, Auburn's New York State Equal Rights Heritage Center is seeking funding from Empire State Development's Market NY program. The center, owned by the city and managed by the Downtown Auburn Business Improvement District, is requesting $150,000 to continue its marketing initiative. The city will also make a required local contribution of $50,000 from the city's general fund, according to Auburn's city clerk, Chuck Mason.

This will be the second consecutive year the center seeks state funding to support its marketing initiative, Mason said Tuesday. He said the center will be eligible to apply again next year as well.

In December, the center secured its first dose of $150,000 through Market NY, and in June, city council passed an agreement resolution, naming TGW Studio (out of Rochester) the lead agency in the center's marketing scheme. 

Mason added that the center's plan to have a marketing initiative completed by 2020 is "definitely" still on track. 

"We'll be seeing some marketing take effect as soon as this summer," he said. "We're just a few weeks away from projects coming out of that (marketing) program." 

Mason said that the marketing around the center's farmers markets and the city's LGBTQ+ Pride Month campaign were small demonstrations of what's set ahead. 

Resolutions for all four consolidated funding applications will appear before city council Thursday. Once given a city nod, the applications then must be received by the appropriate state agency by July 26. Mason said the city will be notified by the state of winning applications some time in December. 

Meanwhile, the Cayuga Museum, Auburn Public Theater and the Seward House Museum — three of 18 contenders in the running for funding through the state's Downtown Revitalization Initiative — also are waiting to hear if they've been selected for another state aid opportunity. 

Last July, Auburn was named the region's DRI recipient by Gov. Andrew Cuomo and given about $10 million in state money to fund projects that would boost future downtown development. After months of trimming a list of 29 projects, 18 were selected by the Auburn Local Planning Committee. The committee requested $13.5 million in support for the projects. (One project, the Phoenix Building, has since withdrawn its application for funding, according to owner Andrew Simkin.)

In March, when these projects were selected, the LPC said it expected a list of DRI recipients to be announced in July. 

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Staff writer Dan Orzechowski can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or dan.orzechowski@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @OrzechowskiDan.