Governor Cuomo Unveils Third Proposal Of 2018 State Of The State: Round Three Of The Downtown Revitalization Initiative

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  15. December 2017

Albany, NY - December 15, 2017 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled the third proposal of the 2018 State of the State: invest $100 million to launch round three of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative - an innovative approach to economic development aimed at transforming communities for the next generation of New Yorkers to want to live and work. The revitalization program, first announced in the Governor's 2016 State of the State address, would invest up to $10 million to award communities in each economic development region. The downtown areas will be selected by the state's Regional Economic Development Councils.
"This administration has been committed to revitalizing downtown neighborhoods in every corner of the state into economic engines for their communities," Governor Cuomo said. "This new round of funding will provide these New York downtowns the opportunity to establish walkable, bikeable streets, meet the needs of the 21st century workforce, and support the growth that will be felt across the entire region."
"I have seen first-hand in my travels across every corner of the state how the Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative investment has given new life to many of our state's downtowns, bringing back jobs and making our young people want to stay put," said Lieutenant Governor Hochul. "From Elmira to Plattsburgh, and from Jamaica, Queens to Watertown, I have walked the streets of many of these cities and talked with local officials. By empowering our local communities to capitalize on their downtown spaces, we are giving our cities the seeds they need to flourish."
Downtown Revitalization Initiative: Round Three
The Governor's $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (the "DRI") is a comprehensive, multi-agency approach to transform vulnerable, vacant or forgotten areas of the state into livable, walkable, dynamic neighborhoods. 
Round three of the DRI will invest up to $10 million in each of New York's 10 economic development regions to support transformative projects that will attract and retain residents, visitors and businesses. Projects will be identified through a strategic planning process driven by third party planning experts and support from the Department of State and New York State Homes and Community Renewal. Eligible projects should support the growth of small businesses, foster the creation of new jobs, leverage local institutions, expand affordable and quality housing, and improve transportation opportunities and corridors.
The DRI program includes up to $10 million subject to the development of a strategic investment plan. The program will be administrated by the Department of State and Empire State Development. The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of State will be consulted as needed on waterfront development projects, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal will be consulted for affordable and mixed income housing related projects. 
For round three, 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 the DRI communities are selected, the process of developing the DRI Strategic Investment Plan will commence. A Local Planning Committee, appointed by the Secretary of State in coordination with community leaders, will work with the consulting team, state planners, and key municipal representatives to guide and direct the establishment of a community-based vision for revitalizing downtown and the development of a Strategic Investment Plan. Each plan will examine local assets and opportunities, and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for the downtown, that are poised for implementation, and that can leverage and expand upon the state's investment.
In rounds one and two of the DRI, a total of $200 million was awarded to 20 communities across the state. Communities were nominated by their Regional Economic Development Council.
The 10 first round Downtown Revitalization Initiative winners were:
  • The City of Jamestown in Western New York
  • The City of Geneva in the Finger Lakes
  • The City of Elmira in the Southern Tier
  • The City of Oswego in Central New York
  • The City of Oneonta in the Mohawk Valley
  • The City of Plattsburgh in the North Country
  • The City of Glens Falls in the Capital Region
  • The City of Middletown in the Mid-Hudson
  • Jamaica in the Borough of Queens in New York City
  • The City of Westbury on Long Island
The 10 second round Downtown Revitalization Initiative winners were:
  • The City of Olean in Western New York
  • The City of Batavia in the Finger Lakes
  • The City of Watkins Glen in the Southern Tier
  • The City of Cortland in Central New York
  • The City of Rome in the Mohawk Valley
  • The City of Watertown in the North Country
  • The City of Hudson in the Capital Region
  • The City of Kingston in the Mid-Hudson
  • The Bronx in New York City
  • Hicksville in the Town of Oyster Bay on Long Island
To review program information, desired attributes of downtowns nominated for participation, and to apply, please go to https://regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

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