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National Grid submits $6 million grant proposal to help flood victims

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Albany/HV: National Grid submits $6 million grant proposal to help flood victims
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National Grid is offering grants for communities and businesses hit hard by recent storms. Solomon Syed has more on how this program will bring some hope to Schoharie County residents.

COBLESKILL, N.Y. -- You'd never know it looking around now, but Cobleskill and dozens of other towns across New York State were ravaged by flood waters just a few weeks ago.

William Goblet of the Town of Wright said, "It filled cellars, it destroyed buildings, pushed buildings off their foundation,"

But now a powerful friend wants to re-charge rebuilding efforts.

National Grid President Kenneth Daly said, "We realized In talking to our customers, more needed to be done."

National Grid President Ken Daly announced the company has submitted a $6 million grant proposal to the New York State Public Service Commission. If approved, the private funds will bridge gaps where FEMA and state aid fall short helping flood victims.

Senator James Seward said, "Let's face it. In these tough budget times, particularly for local governments, local businesses and homeowners, everybody's stretched, and we just can't cover it."

Assemblyman Pete Lopez said, "It's real. It's something they can wrap their arms around. It's that lifesaver, that preserver that allows them to move forward."

The grant will target four specific areas. Municipalities will be eligible for up to $100,000 to repair infrastructure. Businesses can get $25,000 for renovations. Farms may also receive up to $25,000. And customers can apply for loans with a zero percent interest rate.

"This is core to our business," said Daly. "We are a New York company. We're committed to this region. Our asserts are in the ground so we aren't going anywhere. We think it's critical that our customers are there with us and we can help them move forward."

"Absolutely," said Goblet. "This will be a very big thing for some of those folks."

National Grid hopes the proposal will get emergency approval in the next few weeks. At that point, the funds will become available for use as soon as this year and should extend into 2012. It could mean the difference on whether people decide stay and rebuild or leave flood damaged regions altogether.

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