Chris Collins helps free up stalled grant funds for Old Fort Niagaraby jmaloni
Not-for-profit can now pay contractor of work
Congressman Chris Collins, NY-27, announced Friday that his office was able to help Old Fort Niagara in Youngstown receive long-stalled federal grant money it was awarded several years ago.
After waiting months for the money, Old Fort Niagara reached out to the new congressman for help. Collins' office was able to navigate the federal bureaucracy and free up the money in a matter of days. Old Fort Niagara has now received its total grant allocation.
"Getting answers and action from the federal government can be a frustrating experience," Collins said. "My office is here to help and get results. A jumbled-up federal bureaucracy is no excuse for unreasonable delays and lack of answers."
Back in 2009, Old Fort Niagara received a Save America's Treasures grant for $240,000 so it could restore its Civil War-era walls. While the work was completed by Genesee Building Restoration Inc. of Rochester, Old Fort Niagara had been unable to pay the company because the U.S. Department of Interior never forwarded the bulk of the grant money.
"The federal government's switch to a new electronic payment system had even Park Service officials baffled," said Robert Emerson, executive director of Old Fort Niagara. "No one seemed to know how to get the situation resolved. Genesee Building Restoration did a great job and we were months behind in paying their invoices. We are grateful to Congressman Collins for quickly addressing the problem."
"This unfortunate situation was putting both Old Fort Niagara and the local contractor in a bad place," Collins said. "I want to thank the leadership at Old Fort Niagara for reaching out to my office and continuing to be a great historical and economic asset to our community."