Medina a finalist again for millions in downtown revitalization funding

Photo by Tom Rivers: The Village of Medina has this sign at the Medina Canal Basin to greet visitors to the community.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 26 October 2022 at 10:40 am

MEDINA – The Village of Medina is again on the short list for receiving a multi-million-dollar grant to bolster the downtown business district.

Medina has been a finalist two other times for a $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative. But the village hasn’t been picked for the money yet.

Last year Medina missed out on the $10 million to the Village of Newark in Wayne County and the City of Rochester. Other previous $10 million grant winners in the Finger Lakes region include the City of Geneva in 2016, the City of Batavia in 2017, the Village of Penn Yan in 2018 and Seneca Falls in 2019.

Medina village officials gave an overview of potential projects on Friday during a Zoom conference call with the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council.

Mayor Mike Sidari said he felt better about the reception to the presentation than in past years based on the comments and questions from Council officials.

Medina presented a plan for $10 million DRI and also for a new $4.5 million NY Forward program, where the grants are targeted for downtowns in hamlets and villages.

Gov. Kathy Hochul in July announced the state is making $200 million available for downtowns – $100 million to invigorate smaller and rural downtowns and $100 million for downtown areas in metropolitan areas.

Medina has a committee that identified residential, commercial and tourism projects that would build on recent successes and investments in the downtown and canal area.

The committee members that presented the plan with Mayor Sidari include Village Trustee Tim Elliott, Trustee Marguerite Sherman, and residents Kathy Blackburn, Chris Busch and David Flynn.

Sidari didn’t want to make the different plans public yet, but he said they build off the 2021 proposal.

Medina’s application in 2021 sought funding for streetscape improvements, a multi-use trail along the Medina Railroad from the museum to Main Street, upgrades to Canal Village Farmer’s Market, improved waterfront access and amenities at the Canal Basin Park, enhanced programming at State Street Park (ice skating rink, enhanced lighting, boat tie-ups, benches and bicycle racks, and a construction of a nature trail), boat tie-ups and docking facilities at the Lions Park, a viewing platform and at Medina waterfalls, wayfinding signage, small grant fund for local businesses, adaptive reuse of the old Medina High School to turn into apartments, and redeveloping the Snappy facility on Commercial Street by the Erie Canal into a mixed-use commercial and residential space.

Village officials during Monday’s Village Board meeting said the funding from the state will build on significant private and public investment in the downtown in the past 20 years.

Sidari said the state funding would set up Medina as a much desired community to live and work for a new generation. He spoke Monday during a meeting attended by many local high school students.

“This board wants to make this village nicer for your generation so you will choose to live and work here,” Sidari told the students.

Trustee Owen Toale said the state funding would make a big difference for a village of about 6,000 residents. “It’s bookoo bucks,” he said. “We could make Medina an even nicer old-fashioned town than it is.”

The state is expected to announce the DRI and NY Forward grant winners in December.