Begun in the late 1980s, the village Community Development Revolving Loan Fund has been making money available. Loans are available in amounts from a minimum of $1500 to a maximum of $75,000. Larger amounts might be negotiated through the revolving loan fund’s oversight committee. Interest rates in the 3.5 percent to 5 percent range, depending upon the amount borrowed.
Marion Vail, who chairs the oversight committee, explained the fund began with a federally supported grant from Rural Ulster Preservation Company (Rupco) in 1987 to be used to rehabilitate housing units in the village. “It was a grant for $400,000,” recalled Jeanne Reisigl, a village resident who worked for Rupco at the time. “The village got the money to upgrade buildings in the historic district, which includes Main and Partition streets.” Money could be used for rehabilitating building facades or apartment units in the building, Reisigl said.
The village government was able to use the original grant to also fund a revolving loan fund, which has more than $200,000 in it. There are eight currently outstanding loans.
“If it wasn’t for a loan from the fund, I never would have been able to do the work on my building,” said Richard Jackson, who has owned Halpert’s Jewelers and the building it’s in since 1971.
Jackson purchased the business and building at 248 Main Street from the founding family, the Halperts, who opened the jewelry store in 1939. The store is one of the longest continuing operating business in the village.
In the late 1980s, Jackson borrowed about $10,000, went before the village’s historic district committee for permission to renovate the front façade of the building with its current stucco finish and rehabilitated exterior molding.
Several years later, Jackson went back and received a second loan to upgrade apartments upstairs from the jewelry shop. “Without it [the loan], I couldn’t have done all this work,” Jackson said. “It was cheap money that was easier to get then going to a bank,”
Sawyer Savings Bank holds the funds.
While most of those who take advantage of the loan program are building owners or business owners who own the building where their shop is located, some business owners who do not own a building have also been able get loan money. The most recent recipients of money from the loan fund were Suzanne Wald-Balsamo and her husband Jordan, who own the Partition Street Wine Shop at 102 Partition Street.
Wald-Balsamo said during a recent interview that the money from the loan fund enabled her and her husband to relocate their wine shop from across the street, where it had been heavily damaged in a September fire.
“We just wanted them to have a successful business,” Reisigl said of the wine shop. “They really help embellish the village.”
Though some of those who borrowed from the loan fund have gone out of business over the years, no one has ever defaulted on a loan. “They have always paid off the loan even if they went out of business,” Reisigl said.
Money from the loans can be used for projects such as expanding the existing building, roof repairs, façade improvements, parking-area improvements, and renovation of abandoned properties for redevelopment for commercial use, it may not be used for speculative buildings, paying off loans to financial institutions, start-up business expenses or projects located outside the village.
The supply of funds exceeds the qualified demand, it seems. “This is just such a wonderful program, and so many people have been able to do a lot of great work,” said Vail. “We just wish there were more people taking advantage of the program.”
To find out more call 246-2321. Loan packets can be picked up at the village hall on Partition Street.