Stimulus funding will help keep a local business development on its feet after it faced financial burdens when a banking institution pulled out of the project.
U.S. Rep. Michael Arcuri, D-Utica, announced Friday that the Stone Mill of Little Falls will receive a $650,000 loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s Business and Industry Guaranteed Loan Program. The loan will be administered by GPO Federal Credit Union in New Hartford.
Arcuri’s camp said these funds, which are being are made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or stimulus funding, are part of an ongoing commitment to ensure that rural communities attract capital investments that lead to business development and job creation.
“In these tough economic times, many businesses are unable to access the financing they need for renovations or to simply keep their operations running because many banks are either unwilling or unable to lend,” said Arcuri in a news release. “Loans like this help rural communities renovate facilities and embark on new expansions — helping grow the local business sector and creating jobs.”
David Taylor, who owns and operates the mill with his partner Richard Vogt, said news of the stimulus funding was good to hear after having difficulty finding another local bank to back the business.
“I’m thrilled because [GPO] has been wonderful to work with. They have a vision for the valley,” he said in an interview at The Stone Mill Inn Friday afternoon. “They took one look at the business plan and they thought it was worth it.”
Taylor and Vogt formed the business community in 2005 at 410 Canal Place to rehabilitate the historic five-level mill built in that location in 1839. The building currently houses 13 businesses, including a boutique Inn, small theater, antique shop and ice cream shop.
Arcuri’s news release states that the business was approached by Little Falls Urban Renewal to participate in the Small Cities Grant in 2006, as the agency saw the potential for the inn. This participation positioned the Stone Mill for a 50/50 grant with the city, and grant funds received were a total of $190,988. However, a local bank pulled out of the project 14 months ago, halfway through construction for the inn. Taylor and Vogt were still able to open the inn in October 2009.
With the major renovations being done on the property and new income coming in from the inn, funding will allow the Stone Mill to convert its outstanding debt and construction costs into permanent financing. This refinancing will save 12 jobs and create an additional six jobs paying $9.06 per hour. Taylor said he does not know when the refinancing on the mortgage will exactly happen yet.
Taylor said he and Vogt had decided to contact Arcuri’s office in March after being frustrated with local banks not being able to loan them money and said they have since missed two earlier rounds of stimulus funding. With the help of the loan, Taylor said the inn will finally get its finishing touches to make it complete.