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ElmiraTelegram

Cuomo Launches Third Round Of $100 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative

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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."

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.

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.

"In less than a year from Governor Cuomo's announcements of winning projects, the City of Elmira has benefitted immensely from the investment of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding," said Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell. "Currently, construction is underway on the West Water Street Mixed-Use Development project which will result in over 50 market rate apartment units and 16,700 square-feet of retail and commercial space with two announced tenants including LaBella Associates and brew pub.  Renovations will soon be underway in vacant and/or underutilized buildings throughout the downtown.  The Lake Street Pedestrian Bridge is also under design. We would like to thank Governor Cuomo for his leadership and the Department of State, Empire State Development, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and the Department of Transportation for working with Elmira on the implementation of these projects."

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