State to Collaborate with Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize the City of Batavia's Downtown
Part of Governor's Comprehensive Approach to Transform Communities into Vibrant Neighborhoods and Boost Local Economies
Investment Complements "Finger Lakes Forward" - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the City of Batavia will receive $10 million in funding and investments as the Finger Lakes winner of the second round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). As in the first round of the DRI, one municipality from each of the state's 10 regional economic development regions will be selected as a $10 million winner, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities identify catalytic downtown projects to boost the local economy.
"This $10 million award will help attract jobs, spur private investment and transform Batavia's downtown into a vibrant, diverse and economically active business and cultural center," Governor Cuomo said. "By investing in the unique strengths of local communities, we are driving economic resurgence and continuing to move the Finger Lakes forward."
The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council went through a competitive review process of proposals from communities throughout the region and considered eight criteria before recommending Batavia as its nominee for winner:
- 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.
Batavia's second-round DRI win entitles it to receive $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize its downtown neighborhoods and generate new opportunities for long-term growth. Batavia now joins the City of Geneva, which was the Finger Lakes region's winner in the first DRI round.
"This $10 million award will help attract jobs, spur private investment and transform Batavia's downtown into a vibrant, diverse and economically active business and cultural center."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "Today's announcement that Batavia is a second-round Downtown Revitalization Initiative award winner reflects the leadership that has already made the city's central business district a success story. With plans already in place to align new development with the goals of the DRI strategy, Batavia is positioned to become the heart of a growing and diverse regional economy, from the arts to agriculture, advance manufacturing, and entrepreneurial start-up companies."
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The City of Batavia presented a very solid, collaborative, community based plan that focuses on smart, public-private investments. Congratulations on taking round two of the transformative DRI competition."
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding will help invigorate Batavia's downtown, offering opportunities for job creation and economic growth, while also making the area more livable to keep existing residents and attract new ones. The Department of State will continue to work closely with communities across New York State to help develop their neighborhoods and downtowns."
NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative helps breathe new life and bring new opportunities into cities like Batavia, putting them on a path to prosperity. This $10 million investment in Batavia is part of a strategic goal to harness the amazing assets of downtowns across the state—increasing access to housing, creating jobs and attracting cultural and recreational opportunities, and enriching and improving quality of life in the entire region."
Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer, said, "This $10 million investment will provide the tools and resources the city of Batavia needs to succeed. Together, we will take downtown Batavia to the next level - transforming it into a hub of activity and excitement. By revitalizing our local neighborhoods, we are moving our Upstate economy forward."
Assemblyman Steve Hawley said, "I am extremely pleased that Batavia has been selected as one of this year's winners of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and I thank Gov. Cuomo and state economic development leaders for sharing my vision of the city's tremendous potential. Batavia is an extraordinary place and growing up here I've seen its businesses, infrastructure and residents blossom and flourish. This funding will help fund various projects in Batavia's downtown and business district that will bolster our business community, foster new tourism and create a better quality of life for Batavians ,and I look forward to seeing the progress firsthand."
Eugene Jankowski Jr, Batavia City Council President said, "The Governor's commitment of $10 million from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative comes at a time when Batavia is on the edge of major economic development and growth. The award will propel our efforts forward as our community continues to work together to strengthen and grow downtown. There's no doubt that jobs and private sector development will follow this investment. Thank you Governor Cuomo and the people of New York State, for your support of upstate New York and the City of Batavia."
Batavia's downtown is a mixed use, affordable neighborhood with access to jobs, anchor businesses, and city and county services. The area has an excellent foundation upon which to continue its revitalization, including amenities such as recreational sites, healthcare facilities, food markets, library, and various retail and restaurant venues in a walkable environment. The city will capitalize on previous planning efforts to guide investment in the DRI area and focus on transformational projects. Through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the City of Batavia will accelerate the redevelopment of existing buildings, and create additional business and residential opportunities downtown. By investing in the entrepreneurial climate and downtown environmental qualities, and by encouraging ethnic diversity and active lifestyles, Batavia hopes to foster a creative class of workers who will spur continued job growth.
Batavia will now begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown Batavia will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The downtown Batavia Strategic Investment Plan will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the community's vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment. Plans for DRI's second round will be complete in early 2018.
Today's announcement complements "Finger Lakes Forward," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - investing in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production, and advanced manufacturing. 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 Rochester, Batavia and Canandaigua as a destination to grow and invest in. Now, the region is accelerating Finger Lakes Forward 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 8,200 new jobs. More information is available here.
For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to: https://www.ny.gov/programs/downtown-revitalization-initiative
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