State to Collaborate With Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize Downtown Westbury
Long Island Project Will Transform Downtown Westbury, Create Jobs and Boost Local Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Downtown Westbury was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the Long Island 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 Long Island 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 urban centers across the state. Plans will be completed by early 2017.
“Over the past six years, our Regional Councils have played an integral role in generating economic opportunity in communities across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative will build on that momentum by investing in local assets to attract jobs, private investment and transform downtown areas into vibrant, diverse and economically active hubs. This investment will grow Westbury’s burgeoning business district, community cornerstones and cultural charm and continue moving the region forward for years 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 Village of Westbury
Westbury is one of the most diverse and well-located communities on Long Island. Westbury's revived downtown, prime location, affordable housing options, walkability and arts/culture activities provide a strong basis for the Village's continued growth. “The Space at Westbury” is the only downtown performing arts theater in central Nassau County which brings a new energy and cultural focus to the community. Under the DRI, Westbury is well positioned to advance its existing smart growth and transit-oriented development initiatives while increasing the vibrancy of the downtown area with enhanced arts, culture, and dining opportunities.
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:
- The targeted neighborhood should be compact and well-defined.
- 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.
- The downtown should capitalize on prior, and catalyze future, private and public investment in the neighborhood and 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 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.
- 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
- 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.
“I congratulate these communities for their tremendous efforts and winning proposal,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “These areas are ripe for revitalization and this initiative will make these neighborhoods more livable and attract new residents, workers and visitors to the downtown, providing opportunity for job creation and economic growth. The Department of State is looking forward to working with the winning downtowns, many of whom we have shared successes with in years past.”
“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is another example of Governor Cuomo’s innovative approach to economic development,” said James S. Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal. “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.”
“It was a pleasure working with all of the Regional Economic Development Councils throughout this community-driven process,” said Cesar A. Perales, Chair of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. “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.
Additionally, potential applicants from regions that were awarded $500 million through last year’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative are encouraged to submit CFAs in Round VI, as all three regions are full participants in this year’s REDC competition.
The deadline for CFA submissions is Friday, July 29th at 4 p.m.
For applicants, the CFA is available at https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/; and the 2016 REDC Guidebook and list of available resources can be found at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
Westbury Mayor Peter I. Cavallaro said, “On behalf of the residents of the Village and all of the stakeholders in our community, I thank the Governor for selecting Westbury for this grant. It is gratifying to know that, out of all of the deserving communities that could have been selected, our community, and the revitalization efforts we've made to date, are worthy of recognition. We've worked hard with all of our stakeholders to make Westbury the very best it can be and the additional resources will certainly assist us in taking the next step toward our goal of being one of New York's and Long Island's most attractive, sustainable and vibrant places to be. We look forward to working with the Regional Economic Development Council to develop the plans to move our community forward."
Senator Jack Martins said, “Today’s announcement is a well-deserved recognition of the hard work that has gone into revitalizing Westbury’s downtown. This new funding will capitalize on past success and bolster immense growth and vitality for Westbury and the surrounding communities. With this funding, Governor Cuomo and the Regional Economic Development Council are investing in not only our downtown district, but in our region’s bright future. I thank the Governor for ensuring that Westbury remains an economic generator for Long Island and I look forward to seeing our progress in years to come.”
Assemblyman Charles Lavine said, “Governor Cuomo’s $10 million investment in our village will pay dividends for downtown Westbury and its surrounding regions. From our diverse community, to our growing business district and prime retail and cultural establishments, we are well-positioned to continue this region’s growth and transform this village into a magnet of opportunity for businesses and families of the Westbury community. Under Governor Cuomo, New York is investing in community development across the state like never before and I am proud Westbury is moving forward.”
County Executive Mangano said, “Investing in Westbury’s downtown area is critical for ensuring sustainable growth for the entire Nassau community. This award will bolster transformative development and enhancements to downtown by building on our assets. I thank Governor Cuomo for his commitment to Nassau County and I look forward to Westbury’s future as a vibrant and inviting living space for residents and visitors alike.”
Long Island Regional Economic Development Chair Kevin Law said, “Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils utilize a sensible approach to economic development that focuses on our local assets and builds from the ground up. With a $10 million investment from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the Village of Westbury now has the opportunity to implement a similar model to revitalize its urban center and ensure it remains source for economic growth. I am proud of the progress we’ve made and I look forward to building on our efforts with this important investment.”
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