State to Collaborate with Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize Downtown Glens Falls
Capital Region Project Will Transform Downtown Glens Falls, Create Jobs and Boost Local Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Downtown Glens Falls was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the Capital Region. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative, first laid out in the Governor’s 2016 State of the State address, marks a comprehensive plan to transform local neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live and work.
The winner was selected as part of a competitive process by the state’s Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council and will receive $10 million in state funding to revitalize the local neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth and prosperity. The award will include up to $300,000 in planning funds for private sector experts to work with a local planning committee to draft a Strategic Investment Plan that will identify specific economic development, transportation, and housing and community projects. The grant is part of a $100 million effort to improve the urban vitality of city centers across the state. Plans will be completed by early 2017.
“As an emerging destination for business and culture in the Capital Region, downtown Glens Falls has seen remarkable growth in population and economic opportunities,” Governor Cuomo said. “This grant will continue that trajectory by attracting businesses, expanding employment opportunities, and transforming the downtown area into a thriving and inviting urban center. With this funding, Glens Falls will continue to foster its vibrancy and help the region’s development for generations to come.”
“Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented Downtown Revitalization Initiative acknowledges that thriving urban centers are key to changing attitudes and bringing people back to our communities,” said Regional Economic Development Chair Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “I have seen first-hand how revitalizing one downtown can be transformative for an entire region. With support from the Regional Council, that’s exactly what we expect will happen here.”
The City of Glens Falls
Glens Falls’ compact Arts, Wellness, and Entertainment District boasts small businesses, mixed-use spaces, major employers, parks, health care providers, and arts and cultural organizations. This walkable neighborhood has experienced recent growth in both employment and population. Glens Falls will build on this growth and momentum with a focus on rehabilitation of vacant and deteriorating buildings for residential and retail use, enhancing access to arts and cultural opportunities, and improving connections for pedestrians and cyclists.
Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is chaired by former New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, along with a team of planners from the Department of State and private sector experts, with support from Empire State Development, the Division of Homes and Community Renewal, and other state agencies.
Each Regional Council weighed seven criteria in selecting their nominee:
1. The targeted neighborhood should be compact and well-defined.
2. The downtown, or its center, should be of a size sufficient to support an active, year-round downtown and should have a sizeable existing or increasing population within easy reach for whom this would be the primary downtown.
3. The downtown should capitalize on prior, and catalyze future, private and public investment in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
4. 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.
5. The downtown must contain properties or characteristics that contribute or that could contribute, if enhanced, to the attractiveness and livability of the downtown, including the presence of developable mixed-use spaces, housing at different levels of affordability and type, commercial and retail main street businesses, including healthy and affordable food markets, walkability and bikeability, and public parks and gathering spaces.
6. The downtown should contain or articulate how it can create policies that enhance quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes, complete streets plans, or transit-oriented development; and
7. Local and community support must exist for revitalization of the downtown. There must be a commitment among local leaders and stakeholders to build and implement a strategic investment plan for the downtown.
Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal James S. Rubin said, “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is another example of Governor Cuomo’s innovative approach to economic development.By building on existing assets, including high-quality housing that incorporates retail and other conveniences for people at a variety of income levels, we will help downtowns reach their full potential as attractive, affordable places to live and work. Congratulations to the 10 communities that put their best foot forward to win this funding. I look forward to seeing the results.”
Chair of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Cesar A. Perales said, “It was a pleasure working with all of the Regional Economic Development Councils throughout this community-driven process. The REDC members had a very difficult task in making their selections among the many strong candidates in each region. My thanks to the REDCs and my congratulations to the winning communities.”
Regional Economic Development Councils
Round VI of the REDC initiative will award more than $750 million in state funding and tax incentives. In 2016, all 10 REDCs will be competing for a designation as a Top Performer. Five Top Performers will be selected and will receive up to $25 million in Empire State Development Capital Grant funding, with the remaining five regions receiving up to $10 million. Additionally, each region will be eligible for up to $15 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow businesses in the region.
Regional Council priorities in 2016 include:
- Support the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Plan, and begin to identify priority projects in the defined community;
- Implementing strategies through the project pipeline;
- Training the workforce for today and tomorrow; and
- Measuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan and CFA projects.
By incentivizing the implementation of the strategic plans, Regional Councils, businesses, educational institutions, local governments, not-for-profit groups and other stakeholders are further motivated to work together to accomplish the regional vision. While project funding will be awarded to all 10 Regional Councils through the 2016 CFA, the competition places emphasis on Regional Council performance and action to implement strategies. Encouraging genuine cooperation among the REDCs and representatives of the community is critical to achieving economic development success.
In addition to the $10 million available to the winning Downtown Revitalization Initiative communities, state agencies will be awarding priority points through the CFA to additional downtown revitalization projects designed to transform communities ripe for development into vibrant, thriving neighborhoods.
Senator Betty Little said, “Investing in our downtown region is necessary to continue the growth and prosperity our community has seen in recent years. With boundless cultural and community anchors, Glens Falls is poised to become a center of opportunity that will attract private sector investment, and generate economic activity for years to come. I would like to thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing our region’s potential and I look forward to the progress we will make moving forward.”
Assemblyman Dan Stec said, “With this $10 million investment, Glens Falls has an important opportunity to transform its downtown into an economic and cultural center that attracts residents and visitors alike. This initiative will help us invest in critical infrastructure and redevelopment projects that will create jobs, drive economic activity and keep our region moving forward. I am pleased to have worked with Governor Cuomo, Senator Little and our local officials on the development of this plan and I look forward to its implementation.”
Warren County Board of Supervisors Chairman Kevin Geraghty said, “Downtown Glens Falls is a vibrant, emerging city center, and this investment will equip the city with the resources it needs to fulfill its remarkable potential. Governor Cuomo’s localized approach to economic development showcases the unique assets of each region, and allows cities like Glens Falls to shine. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding is an award in recognition of the work we have already done to revitalize Glens Falls, and the limitless opportunities grow this community even more.”
Mayor Jack Diamond said, “I commend Governor Cuomo and the Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing the exceptional opportunities for growth in Glens Falls. With thriving cultural centers and an exciting economic climate, Downtown Glens Falls is emerging as a destination for businesses and visitors alike. This investment will allow us to build upon our existing strengths and transform Downtown Glens Falls into a center of vitality and opportunity.”
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