Additional Infrastructure Investment to Further Revitalize Downtown Watkins Glen and Surrounding Areas; Builds upon 2017 $10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Investment
Investment Complements "Southern Tier Soaring" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced $7.2 million in new infrastructure investments to improve State Route 14 from the Village of Watkins Glen to the Town of Reading, New York, Schuyler County. This additional investment will fund new paving and safety enhancements, building upon $10 million previously awarded to the Village of Watkins Glen as part of the Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Work begins this week and will conclude the summer of 2019.
"Watkins Glen is on the move with targeted state investments to fuel economic growth and enhance tourism across the region," Governor Cuomo said. "Tourism in New York is at an all-time high and with these investments in the Watkins Glen area, the Southern Tier will see more NASCAR fans, wine connoisseurs, and people of all ages who want to see all the region has to offer."
Maintenance paving of 15.8 lane miles along State Route 14 from the Village of Reading to the Village of Watkins Glen will help restore a smooth riding surface for residents and visitors alike. The project will also install all new sidewalks throughout the Village of Watkins Glen and new traffic signals with accessible, pedestrian push buttons.
To promote the village's auto racing history, pedestrian crosswalks will be painted in a checkered flag pattern and historical information signs will be placed along the original road course used for the first Watkins Glen Grand Prix race held in 1948. Project enhancements for this important tourist destination will also include installation of planting beds, colored pavers, drinking fountains and pedestrian destination markers placed in the sidewalks.
This new infrastructure project will also create a gateway entrance to Watkins Glen on the northern end of the village, which will include raised islands in the median that will act as traffic calming features, slowing traffic as it enters the village, enhancing safety for bicyclists and pedestrians in the area. A new welcome sign for the Village will also be created as part of the project.
Located at the southwestern end of Seneca Lake, Watkins Glen is the home to the nationally known NASCAR race track, Watkins Glen International Speedway, which brings tens of thousands to the area each year. This premier road racing facility will begin its season in mid-April. Every August, the Glen's triple-event NASCAR weekend brings thousands of NASCAR fans to the community. For those who prefer a calmer experience, Watkins Glen boasts the most famous of the Finger Lakes State Parks with campsites, picnic areas and hiking trails.
Consistent with Governor Cuomo's Drivers First initiative, the project has been planned to minimize impacts to traffic and the community. To prevent disruption to the community during peak summer tourist season, no work will be conducted in the downtown area from June 22 to September 10. One lane of traffic in each direction will be maintained on State Route 14 throughout the majority of the project during the rest of construction season. At limited times, some work on the project will necessitate just one lane open to alternating traffic with flaggers. There will be no detours designated on village streets.
Acting State Department of Transportation Commissioner Paul A. Karas said, "Enhancements and maintenance are critical to keeping roads and bridges safe in towns and villages across New York State and the Village of Watkins Glen is no exception. This project will support tourism and commerce while making roads in the Village of Watkins Glen safer."
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "This exciting development is literally paving the way for Watkins Glen's promising future. As a $10 million winner of Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the Village is being transformed into a vibrant community with real economic potential. This additional infrastructure investment further solidifies Watkins Glen as a tourism engine for the region and all of New York State."
Senator Tom O'Mara said, "From downtown revitalization to this significant investment in local infrastructure, the state's commitment to the short- and long-term future of Watkins Glen, Schuyler County and the entire region remains strong."
Village of Watkins Glen Mayor Sam Schimizzi said, "I thank Governor Cuomo for his support of this project and the NYSDOT, who have been great to work with. This project ties in with our downtown revitalization initiative and is a win-win for Watkins Glen."
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements "Southern Tier Soaring the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.6 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan - attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.
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