Loans OKed; FEMA to open field office in Penn Yan

John Christensen

The bulk of recent business conducted by the Finger Lakes Economic Development Center revolves around flood recovery. The agency’s board of directors has approved emergency loans to ten area businesses, and facilitated a lease agreement that will bring a temporary federal office to Penn Yan.

Administering almost $300,000 in zero-interest, 5-year emergency loans, FLEDC, Yates County’s industrial-economic development agency, has approved its 10th emergency fund loan; awarded to Tillman Press for $20,000.

Previous loans include:

Indian Pines Farm Market - $25,000

Morenus LLC (Home Necessities) - $30,000

Lemongrass Spa & Makeup - $10,000

Steamboat Castle B&B - $20,000.

O’Leary’s Irish Pub - $41,000

Ray Hamilton (Post carriage house apartment) - $50,000

Penn Yan Diner - $23,000

Wagner Restaurant - $50,000

City Hill Excavating - $13,380.

That brings the total loaned out to $282,380. Emmanuel Baptist Academy was approved for $35,000, but later declined the loan. The Emergency Loan Fund was established with $250,000 from Lyons National Bank and $150,000 from FLEDC funds. One more loan is still under consideration for September’s review. Any remaining FLEDC monies in the fund will be returned to the other loan funds from which they were taken.

FEMA Office Space

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has agreed to lease 5,000 square feet of the former Connections Call Center on Powell Lane, using the administrative offices and lobby area for their disaster relief agents’ needs at least through November. The total lease will be for $16,062 at $5,354 per month, according to a FEMA spokesperson.

FLEDC CEO Steve Griffin says the Penn Yan office will be also be a training center for other offices, and the daily staff of about 15 agents could swell to as many as 50 during trainings. Griffin also says that given the fact some FEMA field offices are still open from 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, the lease may be extended. He has been told FEMA field offices are allowed to close and consolidate once 95 percent of claims are settled. It is then possible the remaining 5 percent of those claims may be moved to the Penn Yan offices.

Other recent business undertaken by by FLEDC includes:

• Agriculture Loan: Hornings Greenhouse was approved for an $82,500 5-year loan at 1 percent from the Ag Loan Fund as gap financing for a $250,000 expansion project to add more greenhouse space.

• PYA Career Day: After the success of the career day done last year at Penn Yan Middle School, another career day will be held this fall at the Academy. Details are being arranged with the school administration, and speakers will be arranged with the help of FLEDC.