October 3, 2014
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces Applications Now Available for Better Buffalo Fund

Governor Cuomo Announces Applications Now Available for Better Buffalo Fund

Latest component of Buffalo Billion makes up to $30 million available for development along "Main Streets" and transit corridors

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced funding applications are now available through the Better Buffalo Fund, which works to develop the "Main Streets" in Buffalo and enhance transit-oriented development around the city. Up to $30 million will be dedicated to initiatives that encourage density and growth along transportation corridors and revitalize neighborhood commercial corridors. Applications, due December 1, 2014, are available here and a map of the sites can be viewed here.

"Buffalo’s diverse neighborhoods and vibrant attractions are part of what makes it one of the most exciting cities around, and with this initiative we’re going to make it easier than ever to see all that the Queen City has to offer," Governor Cuomo said. "The momentum is growing in Western New York with Buffalo leading the way, and I believe The Better Buffalo Fund will keep things moving in the right direction."

Empire State Development will administer a grant and revolving loan fund for Transit Oriented Development projects that emphasize growth within existing corridors and encourage alternative transportation and walkability. Up to $2 million in gap financing is available for projects that promote dense development (housing, employment and retail) within ¼ mile walking distance of Buffalo transit stops on Bailey Avenue, Grant Street, Main Street, Niagara Street and Utica Street corridors. Projects that encourage the use of multi-modal transportation and stimulate pedestrian activity though retail and neighborhood-oriented businesses and services, quality public spaces and accessible walkways are sought.

The revitalization strategy will connect Buffalo's centers of activity with each other in order to help build the city’s reputation as a vibrant, thriving city with modern amenities and infrastructure, high-quality services, well-designed and friendly neighborhoods, and a wide array of assets which are accessible to all residents.

The Buffalo Main Streets Initiative, a program modeled on the New York State Main Street program, will assist in the revitalization of historic business districts and mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts. The program will consider grant requests ranging from $50,000 to $500,000 from non-profit and neighborhood business associations in the City of Buffalo. Funds can be used for building renovations and public space enhancements in discrete, mixed-use target areas.

The Better Buffalo Main Street initiative aims to fund projects within the following general commercial corridors: Allentown, Bailey, Broadway/Fillmore, Chippewa Street, East Delavan, Elmwood Village, Fillmore/MLK, Grant/Amherst, Grant/Ferry, Hertel, Jefferson Avenue, Kaisertown, Lovejoy, Lower Niagara/Lakeview, Main Street, Seneca-Caz, South Park, Tonawanda/Ontario and Upper Niagara Street. Anticipated impacts include improving physical infrastructure to attract and support private development; fostering dense, mixed-use redevelopment of the region’s urban core and neighborhoods to attract and retain a dynamic workforce; and investing in transportation connections to improve access to employment and educational opportunities for existing and future residents.

Satish K. Tripathi, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and University at Buffalo President, said, “Efficient infrastructure and revitalized, accessible communities will increase the Buffalo region’s overall attractiveness to businesses. This initiative, with Governor Cuomo’s tremendous commitment, aims to develop human and physical assets in Western New York that will accelerate innovation and spur a thriving community.”

Howard A. Zemsky, Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and Managing Partner of Larkin Development Group, said, “Buffalo’s moment is now. The Buffalo Billion Revitalization Strategy will build on initiatives we are already moving forward on to develop a sustained, purposeful transformation of the region. Governor Cuomo’s leadership has been key to the success of the Buffalo Billion which will continue to drive our economy.”

Senator Mark Grisanti said, “The idea of the Better Buffalo Fund is to make targeted investments to support economic and community development. I think it is smart to focus on making sure there is a way for people to get to the new jobs Governor Cuomo is creating for Western New Yorkers.”

Senator Tim Kennedy said, “As Western New York continues to undergo unprecedented growth, the Better Buffalo Fund is going to provide an important and necessary focus on smart growth. We want there to be connectivity between the places where people work, live and spend their leisure time. A well-planned strategy will result in vibrant neighborhoods that provide safe places to live that are near both workplaces and fun activities for the entire family to enjoy. This initiative will play a vital role in the revitalization of the City of Buffalo.”

Assemblywoman Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, “We have seen the cost of unchecked sprawl. It’s more difficult and expensive to serve transportation and infrastructure needs as people spread out. People moving back into the city limits combined with thoughtful planning and development through Governor Cuomo’s Better Buffalo Fund will result in neighborhoods that are walkable, user-friendly, more efficient and better connected to the jobs being created for Western New Yorkers.

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said, “The Better Buffalo fund will help to build a brighter future for residents and businesses in the City of Buffalo. By focusing on improving neighborhoods and ensuring they are well connected to new and existing jobs, the Better Buffalo fund will continue the great economic progress that we have been seeing in Buffalo and Western New York. The initiatives created by the Buffalo Billion are helping to transform our economic future. The Better Buffalo fund is the next step we need to create and strengthen dense, mixed-use neighborhoods, and provide reliable transportation to schools and employment.”

Assemblyman Michael Kearns said, “Nice, well-functioning neighborhoods located an easy commute away from well-paying jobs add up to a better Buffalo, which is what this fund is all about creating. The investment in transportation results in employment for people who may not be able to afford a car and provides a way for residents to get to educational opportunities that will lead to greater career opportunities. ”

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “With all the momentum and growing employment opportunities in Buffalo, it is critical that we also connect the neighborhoods along our existing transit corridors to new jobs. The Better Buffalo Fund puts the funding in place to accomplish that. I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing this need.”

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said, “This money connects the employment opportunities created by the Buffalo Billion to neighborhoods centers throughout Buffalo. Without strong neighborhood centers and the enhanced quality of life offered by this funding commitment, the Buffalo Billion cannot reach its full potential. Governor Cuomo deserves credit for the comprehensive approach that he has taken to economic development that is inclusive of all citizens of Buffalo.”

Contact the Governor's Press Office

NYC Press Office:  212.681.4640

Albany Press Office:  528.474.8418