Grants Help Fund Mohawk Ave. Facelifts

June 22, 2010
BY MICHAEL GOOT Gazette Reporter


    Businesses along Mohawk Avenue have gotten a makeover with the help of
a grant program.
Turf Tavern, Scotia Motors, Village Vacuum, Rhythm Section and Scotia
Cinema all received upgrades with a matching grant program from Metroplex
Development Corp. Metroplex splits the cost with the local businesses.
Turf Tavern at 40 Mohawk Ave. received a total exterior renovation with
new windows, awnings, canopy entryways, signs and lighting. The cost was
just a little more than $100,000.
Co-owner Tom Gallant said the partners did some additional landscaping and
sign work. They are also continuing the repairs using their own money inside
with new carpeting, tile work and lighting.
Gallant said it is nice to give a fresh look to the Turf. The restaurant has
been around more than 60 years, and the current owners have had the place
for 14 years.
“It’s pretty much been the same for 40 years. It never caught your eye.
Now it’s catching the eye,” he said. “It’s nice to be able to have the funds
available to make the change. We wouldn’t have been able to be as aggressive
with the changes without the grants.”
Customers have been very receptive to the changes. Gallant said they have
about 100 to 150 customers a night in the restaurant. “I would say we’re up
close to 20 percent from prior to the facade improvements,” he said.
Whereas the restaurant used to be always busy on Friday and Saturday,
now it is busy other days of the week.
“It spreads things out and balances it out.”
Scotia Motors’ main building at 110 Mohawk Ave., where it has been located
since 1946, received a new facade.
Scotia Motors owner Jim Koehler, who also owns the buildings containing
Village Vacuum, Rhythm Section and Shop Talk salon, said the facelift was
completed last fall.
Koehler said an older bay window was removed and replaced with new
windows and a new doorway. Also, older cedar planks were removed. The
building was completely rehabbed inside, and the beauty shop moved in during
the first week of May. The music store also got new windows and changes to
the building materials. The cost is about $75,000.
Koehler said it is a nice improvement but the retail business still needs to get
stronger. He has not seen the economic recovery yet. “There seems to be one
on the banking industry but not on Joe Lunchbox.”
Scotia Cinema, which has been in business at 117 Mohawk Ave. since 1929,
received upgrades to the facade and marquee.
Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen explained that the county’s facade program
had originally only applied to downtown Schenectady and upper Union Street,
but county officials pushed to have other key corridors covered like Hamburg
Street in Rotterdam and Freemans Bridge Road in Glenville.

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