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Dan Hust | Democrat

426 Broadway, also known as the old Sedlack Building/John Burns Building, is one of two downtown Monticello buildings developer Tommy Ting hopes to turn into performance and dining attractions seating up to 400 people. Though he hopes to open the facilities next year, more work remains at both the state and village level.

$1.7 million for Ting: Grant creeps along

By Dan Hust
MONTICELLO — August 13, 2010 — Tommy Ting’s plan to build an “Entertainment Capital” in downtown Monticello sailed through a public hearing on Tuesday, but it still has a few more hoops to jump through.
The hearing was a necessity overseen by the Empire State Development Corporation (ESDC), which is providing $1.7 million in public funding via a Restore NY grant.
More than half a dozen people spoke, each offering their support for the total $2.4 million project to turn 426 and 470 Broadway into performance and dining attractions featuring top-name and rising talent.
“I think this is an excellent project to be a part of,” remarked new Monticello resident Francesca Davis, who’s working with Ting.
“It will be a tremendous draw to the area,” added Jay Zeiger, Ting’s attorney. “... Perhaps it can create a snowball effect.”
“The restoration of the village has to start someplace,” observed Wes Illing, Ting’s engineer.
“Growing up, there was opportunity in this town,” noted Monticello native Donald McBride, who’s also working with Ting. “… I’m proud to be from Monticello … and that’s where I want to be again.”
“I am very happy to see what is happening here. We need more projects like Mr. Ting’s,” agreed Monticello resident Tommy Mack. “… As long as we keep this focus of working together, it’s going to be a good project.”
Linda Cellini was in attendance on behalf of NYS Senator John Bonacic, noting his support, but as the development director for the local YMCA, she also offered her own support.
“This would be a wonderful opportunity for kids to get involved with theater, as well,” she remarked. “[It will] give our young people an outlet and another place to go.”
YMCA Advisory Board member Jill Weyer seconded that thought, adding that as Sullivan County’s deputy planning commissioner, the county is behind the project, too.
“It’s something that’s much-needed in the village,” said Monticello Mayor Gordon Jenkins. “… I think this project is going to enhance the whole community.… It can’t hurt the village.”
Other village officials were in attendance, including Trustee Carmen Rue, whom ESDC Regional Deputy Director Paul Taxter called a “one-woman lobbying machine” for her persistent efforts to keep the state focused on Ting’s plans.
The village, in fact, will be in charge of much of the financing of the project, as the Restore NY grant award will be made to Monticello, not Ting directly.
Monticello will then draw up a contract with Ting to disburse the $1.7 million in two to three payments – technically reimbursements for work he will have already performed.
The village will also have to contribute 10 percent of the grant award, or $170,000.
“Cash and in-kind contributions are allowed, and ‘match’ shall mean cash (which is encouraged) or the value of in-kind services, contributions or administrative costs dedicated to this project,” said ESDC Public Affairs Manager Lisa Willner, “including funds from federal, state (other than Restore NY funds) and local government sources, and funds from private contributions.”
That process, however, awaits one more approval, this time from the state’s Public Authorities Control Board. The matter is tentatively expected to be up for a vote at the Wednesday, August 18 meeting of that board in Albany.
If approval is granted, the grant disbursement agreement – a contract between the state and the village – will be sent to Monticello.
Once signed and a similar contract is in place between Ting and Monticello, work can begin.
Ting, who has to provide an additional $700,000 of his own money, said he’s still securing financing but hopes to have new roofs on both buildings by the winter.
Deep discussions continue with the village about the two building permits Ting needs, which have yet to be issued, as officials are seeking more clarity and possible design changes in the plans.
Still, Ting is hopeful he can open the entertainment venues next spring.

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