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Slew of downtown projects get under way in Albion

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Posted: Saturday, August 18, 2012 12:26 am | Updated: 12:33 am, Sat Aug 18, 2012.

ALBION — Mike Jessmer this week started the painstaking task of repointing mortar between the sandstone blocks on one of Main Street’s most striking structures, the Hanley building owned by Mary Anne Braunbach at 136-140 North Main St.

Jessmer, a mason, will fill in loose mortar, caulk around the windows, and add missing joints with a soft lime mortar. Braunbach also will repaint some spots of the building that sits next to the Erie Canal.

She is the first of about 12 downtown building owners to start work on the outside of the historic structures as part of the $477,000 grant approved for downtown improvements last December through the New York Main Street Program.

Vincent Navarra already has been working on the inside of his building, a project that includes an elevator at 10-12 North Main St.

Braunbach is spending about $30,000 for the work on her building, with $13,500 of that covered by the grant. Braunbach has owned the building for 25 years. PathStone rents the first floor and she has long-standing tenants in the upstairs apartments.

“I love the building,” Braunbach said. “I will always maintain it.”

She planned to work on improving one wall at a time, but the grant allowed her to give all four sides some attention this year, she said.

Albionites can expect to see more masons, painters and construction workers tending to buildings on Main Street and East Bank Street. The building owners have until December 2013 to complete their projects, which need to come before the Albion Historic Preservation Commission for approval.

The Commission on Thursday approved the plan by Chris Haines, owner of Albion Agencies, to make a foundation repair and repaint his building with the existing colors. The Commission also approved Frank Corso’s plan for interior work at 24 East Bank St.

The Commission typically considers certificates of appropriateness for exterior projects in the village’s historic district, but the group is weighing in on all of the projects that include funding through the Main Street program as a stipulation of the state program.

Commission Chairman Jordan Bonafede said he expects 12 to 15 projects will come before Commission, with the work resulting in nearly $1 million of investment in the downtown.

There is $9,200 left in the grant for building owners. They are urged to contact Albion Main Street Alliance, the grant administrator, at 589-2502 to find out how they can participate. Applications for the money are due Nov. 4.

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