By Michael DePietro
Interim Tribune Editor
On Tuesday, the North Tonawanda Common Council held a public hearing regarding an application for community development block grant (CBG) funding for a proposed restaurant – El Gringo Mexican Cantina – to be located at 54 Webster St. The location was most recently the site of the N.T. History Museum, and formerly the old G.C. Murphy's Department Store.
The location is estimated to be a 3,000-square-foot space, can fit up to 90 patrons inside and would create nine full-time and 14 part-time jobs. The owners are seeking approximately $240,000 in assistance from the program to cover some of the project’s estimated total cost of $700,000.
Community Development Director Michael Zimmerman explained CBG funding can be granted for a number of different purposes that fall under different categories, specifically housing, public facilities, infrastructure, planning and economic developments. He noted that recipients who undertake activities in those programs with CBG dollars, have two years from the time the funds are awarded to “meet the national objective” of the CBG program, which is to “support people of low to moderate income.”
Zimmerman noted North Tonawanda has utilized CBG to fund successful projects aimed at promoting economic growth, including Woodcock Brothers Brewing Co., Platter's Chocolate as well as a number of small projects in the community small businesses on Webster and Oliver streets.
No public comments were given or read at the time of the meeting, however Common Council President Eric M. Zadzilka added, “We'd like to hear any feedback from the residents, which can be done in writing, or they can call any city official here.”
Additionally, comments can be sent directly to the Community Development Office by phone at 716-695-8580 or in writing to: Director, Community Development Office, 500 Wheatfield St., North Tonawanda, NY 14120.
Zimmerman said comments would need to be received before the application deadline of Aug. 5.