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Batavia OKs $25,000 grant to bring yoga studio downtown

Updated: October 24, 2012 6:40AM

BATAVIA — The City Council has OK’d a $25,000 downtown improvement grant as an incentive to bring a yoga studio to the downtown, but not without raising some questions about the program.

Aldermen recently supported putting an additional $50,000 into this year’s budget for the downtown grant program, which is funded through two tax increment financing districts in the downtown.

Alderman Eldon Frydendall noted the city does not provide financial assistance to existing businesses struggling through the economy.

“We are going to lose businesses that have been around for a long time,” he said, “We don’t have a program for them.

“I don’t think we are being fair to the people who have been in business several years and trying to survive.”

Alderman Victor Dietz said he would prefer the program be a loan rather than a grant.

“We don’t want our business owners to think we are just helping the new guys out,” Alderman David Brown said, while adding, “This is a tool surrounding communities have.”

Kay Eck of Wheaton plans to open a yoga studio at 5 and 7 N. River St. Eck said her plans are to renovate 2,500 square feet of existing space for retail space and a yoga studio. She received a low bid of $121,251 for the renovations.

The city’s grant program offers funding to business owners interested in making improvements to a building that would enhance the economic viability and appearance of the downtown. Applicants are eligible for up to 50 percent of the actual improvement costs.

Joe Marconi, a prominent Batavia business and property owner, said there already is a saturation of yoga classes available through the Batavia Park District.

“I spend a lot of money (supporting) the Park District on my property taxes,” Marconi told aldermen.

“I don’t think we have to pay somebody $25,000 to put in a yoga shop in town. Everyone I have talked to thinks it is a farce.”

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