Downtown Revitalization Investments are a Critical Part of the State's Comprehensive Economic Development and Community Growth Strategy
State to Work with Residents, Community Leaders and Public Officials to Revitalize Downtown Cohoes
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the City of Cohoes will receive $10 million in funding as the Capital Region winner of the sixth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. For the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Round 6, each of the state's 10 economic development regions are being awarded $10 million, to make for a total state commitment of $100 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods.
"By investing in Cohoes' downtown, we are ensuring the prosperity of this beautiful and welcoming community that residents and visitors have long enjoyed," Governor Hochul said. "This funding will ensure that all of Cohoes, from its stunning waterfalls to lively downtown, can be a place where residents work, play, and thrive for generations to come."
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) serves as a component of the State's economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that oer a high quality of life and attract businesses, jobs and economic and housing diversity. Like past DRI rounds, each selected community will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have transformative potential and leverage further private and public investments. The Department of State will then award DRI funds to selected projects with the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community's vision.
Cohoes is a small city with big amenities. Home to a growing community of restaurants, retail stores, antique shops, art galleries and entertainment venues, as well as a burgeoning residential population to support them, Downtown Cohoes is on the verge of a transformation. The eclectic mix of businesses set in 19th century architecture, combined with multiple green spaces and a community garden, creates the feeling of a modern community with a nostalgic overtone. Special events like Rock the Block, Eat in the Street, Wing Wars, Soup Stroll, the Regional Food Bank's Mac & Cheese Bowl and many others elevate residents' quality of life and bring vibrancy to the downtown. That quality of life is not merely a perception, it is clearly on display in Cohoes' growing population that is getting younger and more diverse.
Over the last several years, significant private and public investments have led to job growth, a boost in the downtown economy and an increasing proportion of Millennials and diverse populations. Cohoes is seeking to leverage these recent investments and its historic assets to foster a welcoming, walkable community where residents and guests can enjoy diverse dining, shopping and entertainment options. The DRI will reinvigorate Cohoes as an accessible, walkable downtown with an abundance of amenities that make the City a premiere regional destination by reclaiming upper floors of storefront buildings for residential use, restoring the facades of historic buildings and improving connectivity to and within the downtown area.
The Capital Region Regional Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and competitive review process of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region and considered all the criteria below before recommending Cohoes as the nominee:
- Downtown is compact, with well-dened boundaries;
- Downtown can capitalize on prior, or catalyze future private and public investment;
- Recent or impending job growth within, or close to, the downtown that can attract workers, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;
- Downtown is an attractive and livable community for diverse populations;
- Municipality already embraces, or has the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life;
- Municipality conducted open and robust community engagement resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives;
- Municipality has the local capacity to manage the DRI process; and
- Municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for near-term implementation with an infusion of DRI funds.
Cohoes has been awarded $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize its downtown neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth following the local planning process. Cohoes joins the communities of Glens Falls, Hudson, Albany, Schenectady, Tannersville and Troy, which were the Capital Region's winners in the first five DRI rounds.
Cohoes will 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 will examine local assets and opportunities to identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with each community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The 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 sixth round will be complete in 2023.
"This funding will ensure that all of Cohoes, from its stunning waterfalls to lively downtown, can be a place where residents work, play, and thrive for generations to come."
Empire State Development CEO, President and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "It's exciting to see how the DRI continues to revitalize downtowns around New York State, and the City of Cohoes will soon see its transformative effects first-hand. The funding will help "the Spindle City" realize its goals to make be more connected and walkable as well as revive historic buildings and storefronts to attract new residents and visitors and ensure its future growth."
Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, "Our state is experiencing a renaissance in downtown resurgence, and the Downtown Revitalization Initiative is continuing that momentum into Round Six. With recent investments in the downtown community and an influx of younger, more diverse residents, Cohoes is on the verge of real transformation, and these funds through the DRI will help the City achieve its vision. Congratulations to the City of Cohoes on its award."
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Cohoes is a diverse city with vast offerings and the State's $10 million commitment to the revitalization of its downtown will breathe additional life into this growing community. Thanks to Governor Hochul and the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we can create new housing opportunities and renovate existing storefronts in ways that will benefit current and future residents, and compliment additional strategic investments being made across the Capital Region."
Capital REDC Co-Chairs Ruth Mahoney, Executive Vice President, President of Wealth Management and Regional President at NBT Bank and Dr. Havidán Rodríguez, University at Albany President, said, "Cohoes is an up-and-coming Capital Region community, and the DRI will help to further establish it as a diverse and vibrant destination. The Capital REDC looks forward to the strategic community-informed projects that will connect residents and newcomers with all this city has to offer."
State Senator Jacob Ashby said, "The governor has made a wise choice in selecting Cohoes for a DRI grant. These resources will accelerate growth and progress sparked by a series of public and private investments in the city's affordable housing, exciting restaurants and vibrant arts scene. I'm proud to support this."
Assemblymember John T. McDonald III said, "As a former Mayor of Cohoes and the current Assemblymember, I have always dreamed of an opportunity such as this Downtown Revitalization Initiative for my hometown. I am so happy for the City and for our residents who will benefit from this transformational project. I want to thank and credit Governor Kathy Hochul for bringing this to life and note that the Executive and the Legislature wholeheartedly agree on the importance of this program. In addition, the City of Cohoes DRI is a logical fit with the New York Housing Compact proposed by Governor Hochul in the Executive budget. Through the DRI we are investing in our urban centers that gave birth to our suburbs and the success of these urban centers results in outward growth. As we work to make New York State more livable and affordable, this is an excellent investment of state resources and enhanced residential development will lead to greater business opportunities. A true win for all New Yorkers."
Cohoes Mayor William Keeler said, “I’m very grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul for coming to Cohoes and personally delivering her message of confidence in our economic development plans. The $10 million in state funding from the DRI will be transformative for our historic downtown. The funding will allow us to rehabilitate and re-purpose long vacant buildings, add new housing units as well as retail storefronts. Increasing population downtown will grow Cohoes in a smart way, adding vibrancy to the beating heart of our city.”
About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative was created in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of the state to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment. Led by the Department of State with assistance from Empire State Development, Homes and Community Renewal and NYSERDA, the DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative "plan-then-act" strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation and results in compact, walkable downtowns that are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the State's bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles.
In the first five years of the program, the state committed $600 million, investing in 59 downtowns ripe for revitalization that have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity and opportunity.
Participating communities are nominated by the state's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown's potential for transformation. Each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization and leverage additional private and public investments.
More information on the DRI is available here.