October 3, 2018
Albany, NY

Governor Cuomo Announces City of Lockport as $10 Million Western New York Region Winner of Third-Round Downtown Revitalization Initiative

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Governor Cuomo Announces City of Lockport as $10 Million Western New York Region Winner of Third-Round Downtown Revitalization Initiative
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State to Collaborate with Western New York Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize the City of Lockport's Downtown

Part of Governor's Comprehensive Approach to Transform Communities into Vibrant Neighborhoods and Boost Local Economies

Downtown Revitalization Investments Are Crucial Part of Western New York's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that the City of Lockport will receive $10 million in funding as the Western New York winner of the third round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. As in the first two rounds of the DRI, one municipality from each of the state's 10 regional economic development regions is selected as a $10 million winner, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise a family.

"With its strategic location on the Erie Canal and thriving tourism industry, Lockport is an ideal recipient of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative," Governor Cuomo said. "This investment will give Lockport the resources needed to grow their downtown district, transforming this community on the rise into a bustling epicenter of activity for residents and tourists alike to enjoy."

"As someone who was proud to represent Lockport in Congress and fight for funding for the Fight of Five and for environmental cleanup, I know what this award means to the treasured community," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "This $10 million investment from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative allows Lockport to take the next steps forward to advance projects that will create jobs, improve walkability, and better connect this community to Niagara County and the entire region. Like so many communities in Western New York, Lockport has seen the benefit of targeted state investment, helping this unique destination further embrace the history and heritage of the Erie Canal."

City of Lockport

The City of Lockport is a unique canal community anchored by a growing, progressive downtown district and an established tourism season. The city's walkable 15-block central business district has several iconic buildings that are vacant or underutilized and represent impactful economic development opportunities, especially for a blend of affordable, market-rate, and luxury housing. Recent public investment has already driven private developer interest in downtown properties, leading to significant improvements, such as the renovation of the blighted 57 Canal Street property into a bustling epicenter that hosts numerous community events. The DRI award will unlock the downtown's full potential by enhancing corridors from residential neighborhoods into the heart of downtown with revitalized buildings, attractive storefronts, and residential options - providing a walkable, livable, and sustainable community in which residents and visitors alike can take pride.

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council went through a competitive review process of proposals from communities throughout the region and considered all eight criteria below before recommending Lockport 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.

Lockport's third 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. Lockport now joins Jamestown and Olean, which were the Western New York region's winners in the first and second DRI rounds, respectively.

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "This $10 million DRI award will help catalyze transformational growth and investment in Lockport's downtown and continue to build on the state investments already reshaping this unique canal community, from the Flight of Five and Oath to the Cornerstone Ice Arena and Harrison Place Business Center."

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "We are proud of the City of Lockport for putting forth an outstanding application that shows they are the right place for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. These resources will lead to further investment and growth, and make the city an even better place to live and work."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Through Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, these community-led, targeted investments will combine with HCR's $226 million investment in Western NY over the last seven years that has created affordable housing for about 9,000 residents to help ensure that as Lockport's economy grows, all New Yorkers have the opportunity to take part. In New York State, we are lucky to have a Governor who understands how to build inclusive, long-term economic success."

Senator Robert G. Ortt said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is known for bringing much-needed investment to the small towns and communities across our state. With this award, Lockport will be able to invest in infrastructure, invite new businesses and create new jobs in a downtown area that is on the rise. I look forward to seeing the new additions and improvements that our city will make in the months and years to come."

Assembly Member Michael J. Norris said, "This New York State investment is a game changer for the City of Lockport to build upon the recent successes we've had including, the Cornerstone Arena and the development of the Canal District. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding will bring new development, more tourism and will energize the growth of our business sector, fostering additional economic activity for decades to come."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Jeff Belt said, "Lockport is beautiful, but it has been undermined by downtown demolitions and suburban sprawl. This DRI award will enable Lockport to rebuild a walkable, vibrant downtown for their 20,000 residents and the thousands more tourists who cherish this historic canal community. Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative has given us the proof that walkability and downtown placemaking are among the very most effective economic development strategies working in Upstate New York today."

Western New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Dr. Virginia Horvath said, "With this $10 million award, Lockport will work toward a shared vision to transform its community into a vibrant place that is ripe for economic opportunity and attractive to a young workforce. Lockport has already begun the process of investing in its downtown, now we can accelerate and unlock the city's full potential by identifying key projects and working to ensure swift implementation."

Niagara County Legislature Chairman Keith McNall said, "This is great news not only for the City of Lockport, but for all of Niagara County. By transforming Lockport's downtown district, we are attracting new residents, businesses and tourists to this city, ensuring its future economic success. We are eager to continue our work with Governor Cuomo in unlocking this exciting community's full potential. Congratulations to former Lockport Mayor Anne E. McCaffrey and Economic Development Advisor Brian Smith for their hard work to make this possible."

Lockport Mayor David R. Wohleben said, "The City of Lockport is honored to win the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and we are grateful to Governor Cuomo's administration for recognizing our community's importance to the entire state. We are excited to put this investment to work and bring in even more economic development to Lockport."

Lockport 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 Lockport 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 Lockport 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 the DRI's third round will be complete in 2019.

For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to: www.ny.gov/programs/downtown-revitalization-initiative.

Contact the Governor's Press Office

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