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Grant would bring jobs

In an agreement with the village, Zupan Salvage & Recycling Inc. will apply for the Restore NY Communities Initiative-Municipal Grant for restoration of its property located at 120 Barlow Street.

Lou Zupan Sr. and his son, Lou Zupan Jr. purchased the former Titan Motor Home property in 2000 from Jim Clark. Since then, Madison County has estimated the two spent $1.5 million cleaning up the property inside and out, according to Zupan Sr. The 48,000 square feet building has been vacant since 1994 after a fire that destroyed a plastic's recycling center operated by Rocco DiVeronica. The building sits on eight acres of property with room for expansion.

"It was just a mess," Zupan Sr. said. "The plastic went to the landfill, lots and lots of it. Louie and I spent nine years of our lives on Barlow Street."

Zupan said he wasn't aware of the first round of the $300 million in Restore NY grants. He found out about round two last year but it was too late to apply.

"We could have applied for other grants but we figured if we hadn't taken any of the public's money we'd be in a better position at the end," Zupan said.

Applications for the third and final round of the grant must be complete by May 4. The application is for $1.9 million. If the grant is approved it could mean jobs for Canastota and the surrounding area.

"The grant is based on a point system," Zupan said. "We have 98 out of 100 points but that doesn't mean other applicants won't have 99 out of 100 points. There's $150 million to split. We are up against some big competition. But everything is in order. We are 'shovel' ready."

A company that already owns two other facilities has submitted a letter of intent to lease the building for five years, Zupan said. It's all contingent on the grant. It would mean at least 50 new jobs in Canastota. Zupan did not wish to publicly disclose the company name. If the grant is approved, the company would oversea the refurbishing of the building to its specifications.

"It will put a lot of people to work," Zupan said. "If we get the grant it would be terrific for the village, for everybody really."

Zupan said they probably won't know if grant money is available for at least three months and renovations would take about a year to complete.

Zupan said clean up is about 90 percent complete and if the grant money is not available then they will finish the other 10 percent clean up and still have a nice structure available.

"It's in the Empire Zone," Zupan said. It's a valuable piece of property."

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