State again makes $100 million available for downtown revitalization

Posted 25 April 2018 at 10:39 am

Medina tried last year but was beaten out by Batavia

Press Release, Gov. Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today launched the third round of the transformative Downtown Revitalization Initiative, investing $100 million into 10 additional downtown neighborhoods across the state. In its third year, the proven-successful investment will boost local economies and foster vibrant neighborhoods that offer a higher quality of life in every region of New York.

“We have seen firsthand the excitement and transformative nature of these investments–turning downtowns into economic engines for their communities and beyond,” Governor Cuomo said. “This new round of funding will provide these downtowns new opportunities to rebuild for 21st Century needs and foster growth that will be felt across the entire region.”

(Editor’s Note: The Village of Medina applied for a $10 million grant last year, but the City of Batavia was the winner of the money for the Finger Lakes Region. Click here for more information about Medina’s proposal.)

The Governor’s $100 million DRI is a comprehensive, multi-agency approach to transform vulnerable, vacant or forgotten areas of the state into livable, walkable, dynamic neighborhoods.

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has given communities across the State the opportunity to spearhead local projects that will grow their downtowns and boost the economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the Regional Economic Development Councils. “I’ve visited many cities that were awarded funding as part of Rounds 1 and 2 of the DRI, and they’re moving full speed ahead with exciting plans that will transform their areas. As part of the initiative, we’re promoting smart growth strategies and transit-oriented development, which is in increased demand from New Yorkers across the State. The investment in Round 3 of the DRI will give even more communities the resources they need to pursue these collaborative and innovative projects.”

One community in each of the ten Regional Economic Development Council zones will be selected by the REDC to receive a $10 million investment following an application process and thorough evaluation of each downtown’s potential for transformation. Applications for the third round are due June 1, 2018. Regional Councils will weigh eight criteria to select nominees:

• The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;

• The municipality, or the downtown’s catchment area, should be of sufficient size to support a vibrant, year-round downtown;

• The downtown is able to capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment in the neighborhood and its surrounding areas;

• There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;

• The downtown must be an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, including existing residents, millennials and skilled workers;

• The municipality should already embrace or have the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes and parking standards, complete streets plans, energy efficient projects, green jobs, and transit-oriented development;

• The municipality should have conducted an open and robust community engagement process resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives that may be included in a DRI strategic investment plan; and

• The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for implementation with an infusion of DRI funds within the first one to two years.

Once a community is selected by the REDC, a Local Planning Committee, comprised of local leaders, stakeholders, and key government officials is established to oversee the development of a strategic plan for downtown revitalization. The LPCs’ work is supported by experts from the New York State Department of State and New York State Homes and Community Renewal. DRI funds will be used to implement projects recommended by the LPCs, and should reinforce and secure additional public and private investments within and near downtown neighborhoods to build upon growth spurred by the Regional Councils.

New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a showcase of New York’s community spirit. Through collaboration and innovation, local leaders are creating plans that revolutionize how their neighborhoods can thrive and prosper. I am proud to usher this important program into its third year and look forward to the competition to come.”

The following communities have already been awarded $10 million through the prior two DRI rounds:

• Capital Region

City of Glens Falls

City of Hudson

• Central NY

City of Oswego

City of Cortland

• Finger Lakes

City of Geneva

City of Batavia

• Long Island

Village of Westbury

Hicksville (Town of Oyster Bay)

• Mid-Hudson

City of Middletown

City of Kingston

• Mohawk Valley

City of Oneonta

City of Rome

• New York City

Jamaica, Queens

Bronx Civic Center

• North Country

City of Plattsburgh

City of Watertown

• Southern Tier

City of Elmira

Village Watkins Glen

• Western NY

City of Jamestown

City of Olean

For more information about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, click here.

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