New York State Agencies to Collaborate with Regional Economic Development Council
Investments will Revitalize Downtown Glens Falls, Modernize Infrastructure, Boost Local Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the winning projects selected for the City of Glens Falls in the Capital Region as part of the state’s $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The DRI aims to transform local neighborhoods across the state into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise a family. Working together with state agencies and the Regional Economic Development Council, the City of Glens Falls has built a strategic investment plan that identifies catalytic downtown projects consistent with the initiative’s goals.
"This critical investment will allow the City of Glens Falls to become a major economic hub while bolstering small businesses and spurring tourism across the region," Governor Cuomo said. "These projects will help ensure that the Capital Region remains competitive and lead to a stronger, more prosperous Glens Falls."
"The Downtown Revitalization Initiative recognizes that vital central business districts can anchor the growth of an entire region, especially those with a strong central market as their focal point," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today’s DRI announcement in Glens Falls. "Through the DRI, Glens Falls will create a new downtown building with retail space, an incubator kitchen and farmers market. Glens Falls will also strengthen pedestrian access in its walkable neighborhoods and support small business growth through grant funding to create a thriving downtown where people want to live and work."
The eight winning projects are:
- Market on South Street
Create new opportunities for local retailers, artisans, restaurateurs and farmers by expanding upon one of the City’s greatest assets: its connection to regional agricultural resources. Focus on access to healthy food options while improving the facilities provided to the Glens Falls Farmers’ Market Association, generating new opportunities for commerce, community gathering and wellness education. Will be designed with public green space for easy pedestrian and bike access, and will substitute displaced surface parking at the site with an adjacent public garage.
- Relocate SUNY Adirondack Culinary School Downtown
Assist SUNY Adirondack in relocating its Culinary School to a downtown location in Glens Falls. Support development of a new downtown facility that includes classroom space, a working kitchen, and a restaurant for training students in front-of-house and back-of-house operations. The preferred build-out would include a dining area, teaching kitchens, bakeshop, classrooms, and faculty offices.
- Improve Streetscape in Key Downtown Areas
Streetscape improvements in key areas of the Downtown to increase safety, improve accessibility, benefit pedestrian access, and improve the appearance of retail areas. Specific improvements will include additional bike lanes, sidewalk improvements, street furniture, and tree planting, landscaping and undergrounding utilities on Park, School, Elm, and Exchange Streets.
- Redevelop Four Vacant Parcels
Redevelop four parcels containing vacant buildings on the southwest corner of South and Elm Streets, a key intersection in downtown Glens Falls including adaptive re-use of two buildings for mixed-use redevelopment and demolition of two buildings to create a pocket park and surface parking.
- One Mile Public Arts Trail
Establish new one-mile public arts trail through downtown Glens Fall that ties together several arts organizations and historical buildings, creating a new attraction. This project includes trail clearing and landscaping, construction of informational kiosks, wayfinding and promotional materials, bicycles racks, and design and installation of distinctive design elements along the path, such as pavement stamping.
- High Speed Broadband
Provide high speed broadband to residents and businesses in downtown Glens Falls. Project will allow the city to issue an RFP to hire a broadband provider to install necessary infrastructure to develop a broadband wireless service for residents and businesses following a wireless propagation analysis.
- Fund for Downtown Revitalization
Create a revolving loan and grant fund to support revitalization of Glens Falls. The fund will assist small businesses, building owners, non-profit organizations and entrepreneurs to support economic development, improve the built environment, and support job creation in the DRI area through a series of competitive grant funding opportunities.
- Downtown Park on South Street with Green Infrastructure
Construct a new park including green infrastructure for stormwater management on the corner of South and School Streets. This project will transform two vacant, deteriorated lots at a key gateway to downtown into a public green space.
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Communities across the State are grateful for Governor Cuomo’s focus on investing in local opportunities and sparking true economic growth. By funding downtown revitalization projects, New York State is ensuring that future generations can stay local and remain proud of their home state. I congratulate the Local Planning Committee for its due diligence and hard work in selecting award-worthy projects that will improve the lives of Glens Falls residents.
NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Governor Cuomo’s DRI program was created to recognize and reward the best in local, well-planned growth that anticipates and balances the needs of the current residents with the promise of new mixed-use development. Helping communities like Glens Falls embark on a path that embraces renewal, fresh employment and housing opportunities, recreational and arts enrichment, and creating a more attractive and livable community guarantees a more vital future for all New Yorkers."
Senator Betty Little said, "I’m extremely pleased that the City of Glens Falls is the recipient of this funding which I know will go a long way to transform the downtown economy. I’m certain that we will see a lot more economic activity that will benefit the local businesses and improve the experience of local residents and visitors."
Assemblyman Dan Stec said, "I want to thank Warren County EDC's leadership for pursuing this opportunity, together we are building a sustainable future for the city of Glens Falls. These funds will allow for the rehabilitation of existing buildings while providing economic revitalization opportunities for future generations."
City of Glens Falls Mayor John Diamond said, "These projects will serve to transform the South Street corridor into the vital, vibrant neighborhood our forbearers envisioned when they called it ‘the Street of Dreams. There’s a palpable energy rising in our city and we can’t wait to get started on realizing this formidable vision."
The City of Glens Falls
Known as “Home Town U.S.A” for its small town essence, Glens Falls is also headquarters to cutting-edge bio-medical research, investment firms, and large manufacturing firms. Other assets include many historic monuments and districts as well as a diverse entertainment industry, ranging from renowned theatrical festivals to impressive museum collections.
Glens Falls is easily poised to transform into a 21st century, regionally competitive community while maintaining its family-friendly appeal. Under the DRI, Glens Falls will focus on projects in the downtown area that will leverage significant private investment to promote sustainability and reduce the city’s carbon footprint, provide innovative wellness opportunities, and expand upon its economic potential as a regional center of culture and commerce.
Glens Falls was selected as the winning DRI community in the Capital District region after the local regional Council weighed seven criteria in selecting Glens Falls as its nominee:
1. The targeted neighborhood should be compact and well-defined.
2. 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.
3. The downtown should capitalize on prior, and catalyze future, private and public investment in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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
7. 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.
For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and how to apply for its second round, go to: https://regionalcouncils.ny.gov.
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