Village of Pelham, chamber of commerce receive grant for downtown improvement

The Village of Pelham and the town chamber of commerce received a Business First Downtown Improvement Grant (DIG) from Westchester County that will fund market analysis, a strategic economic growth plan, six months of hands-on support and up to $250,000 to aid implementation, according to press releases issued by the village, chamber and county.

Pelham is one of only five municipalities picked for the project, and the others include Bedford, Dobbs Ferry, Mount Kisco and Port Chester. Under the new program, the village will be working with JGSC Group, consultants who focus on promoting growth in community downtowns.

The five winners of the grants face challenges that include “reducing vacancy rates, increasing foot traffic, attracting new businesses, retention of current businesses, enhancing the community experience, addressing parking issues, investing in the area’s visual appeal, and more,” said the county’s press release.

“I am immensely proud of the chamber’s continued collaboration with the Village of Pelham in our shared mission to enhance and uplift our community,” said Cristina Chianese, president of the chamber, in a statement. “Our unified efforts exemplify the spirit of community and underscore our commitment to a vibrant Pelham to drive positive change, foster growth and create an even more thriving business community in Pelham.”

Chianese offered a special thank you to Deanna Zammit, government liaison for the chamber, for leading the grant application effort.

“The Wolfs Lane and Fifth Avenue corridor is home to many businesses that serve our community, some of them for decades.” said Zammit. “But our downtown, like many, faces complicated and entrenched challenges that require special expertise to overcome. This grant will provide Pelham with the crucial direction needed to push forward.”

The program, a first-of-its-kind, was  created by the Westchester County Office of Economic Development.

“I am excited to begin the next stage of work with JGSC Group as we implement this pilot DIG program,” said Shari Rosen Ascher, Westchester County director of policy and programs, small business and chambers of commerce. “We’ve started a critical process that will help spark vibrancy at the local level, attract outside resources, support small businesses, inspire entrepreneurs and provide a sense of long-term direction that will benefit these communities for years to come and help them remain resilient into the future.”

Village of Pelham Mayor Chance Mullen said the project’s approval came at the right time, given the construction of residential apartment projects in the downtown. “It won’t be long before the buildings we’ve approved will actually be built,” he said. “This program will help us crystallize what the next chapter of our work will look like.”

More information about the DIG program can be found here.