An East Side business that makes insulation and mulch from recycled paper is being recommended for $165,570 in funding to help pay for new equipment and upgrades to its Pratt Street factory from an economic development fund administered by the New York Power Authority.
Living Green Insulation Products & Services won the backing of the Western New York Power Proceeds Allocation Board for funding that will cover almost 20 percent of the costs of a nearly $900,000 project that will allow the company to ramp up its business, which already has invested $1 million in facility upgrades and machinery purchases.
The latest funding, which must be approved by the Power Authority board of trustees, would allow Living Green to complete the second part of a three-phase start-up plan and begin producing hydro-seeding mulch, which mixes seeds, paper mulch, fertilizer, and water in a tank. The mixture is then sprayed onto areas where grass is desired.
Living Green officials said the completion of the second phase would allow it to start bringing in revenues that would help the business move toward the third – and final – phase of its launch plan, which includes the start of production on its cellulose insulation products.
The company, which currently has three employees, said it expects to employ 29 people within the next five years, with many of the workers coming from Buffalo’s East Side. The jobs are expected to pay an average of almost $21,000 a year, Living Green officials said.
The latest NYPA funding would allow the company to purchase a range of equipment from fork lifts to a delivery truck and a hydro-seeding mulcher, along with the reconstruction of the loading dock at the factory, located at 230 Pratt St., and the installation of a sprinkler system.
The company already has received more than $260,000 in state funding through programs administered by Empire State Development and PUSH-Buffalo.
The proceeds allocation board also recommended that the Power Authority approve $80,000 in funding for the Eden Valley Growers agricultural co-operative, which would use the money to help finance a $400,000 project to build a new staging and packing area at its facilities off Route 62.
The expansion, which also would be financed through a loan and grant from Farm Credit East and the co-op’s own funds, would allow the growers to significantly expand their markets both regionally and statewide.
The project is expected to create six new jobs at the co-op, which currently employs 20 people and includes 10 Eden fruit and vegetable farms that span a total of 1,000 acres. The new jobs are expected to pay an average of $35,000 a year.
The fund from the sale of unallocated hydropower has raised $27.5 million for economic development projects within 30 miles of the Niagara Power Project since the program began in 2010. However, allocation of the money did not begin until this May. The Power Authority and the allocation board have approved, or recommended, nearly $15 million in funding through its first five rounds of allocations.
The fund gets its money from the sale of unallocated hydropower from the Niagara Power Project, which currently totals 94-megawatts of electricity.