State to Work with Residents, Community Leaders and Public Officials to Revitalize Tupper Lake's Downtown
Downtown Revitalization Investments Are Crucial Part of the State's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Tupper Lake will receive $10 million in funding as one of the North Country region winners of the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). As part of DRI Round 5, each of the state's 10 regional economic development regions are being awarded $20 million, to make for a total state commitment of $200 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their post COVID-19 economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods.
"Vibrant downtowns play a crucial role in allowing communities to thrive and through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, New York is helping ensure our local partners have the resources they need to transform these areas," Governor Hochul said. "With this funding, Tupper Lake will not only be able to improve the quality of life for those who live there, but also ensure this community remains a gem of the Adirondacks and destination for tourists from around the globe."
Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin said, "As we continue to build back from COVID-19, the State's Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a critical tool to help communities across New York recover. The $10 million in funding awarded to Tupper Lake will help their community achieve more vibrant neighborhoods and boost the post COVID-19 economy."
Led by the Department of State, the DRI serves as a cornerstone of the State's economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract redevelopment, businesses, jobs, and economic and housing diversity. In this round, Governor Hochul doubled funding from $100 million to $200 million and allowed each Regional Economic Development Council to decide whether to nominate two $10 million awardees or one $20 million awardee for transformative and catalytic downtown redevelopment projects. 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 the potential to transform the downtown and leverage further private and public investments. DRI funds will then be awarded for selected projects that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community's vision for the downtown. Through the DRI, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will provide technical support to the awardees to assist them with including carbon neutral principles in support of the state's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050.
Tupper Lake's DRI will focus on the Uptown District. Tupper Lake is a resurgent Adirondack community that aims to make their community a nationally-recognized, vibrant, four-season Adirondack destination through the ongoing revitalization of their compact, walkable, waterfront Uptown District. The village has a proven track record of downtown revitalization with over $16 million in private investment and nearly $50 million in public investment in or near the Uptown District since 2014, including $30 million in upgrades to essential municipal services and the $48.3 million Wild Center, which happens to be the first LEED-certified building in the Adirondacks. Continuing this momentum, Tupper Lake aims to increase tourist amenities, enhance their streetscapes, and create new housing and entertainment options.
The North Country Regional Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and competitive review process of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region and considered all seven criteria below before recommending Tupper Lake as one of the nominees:
- The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
- 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, income, gender, identity, ability, mobility and cultural background;
- 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;
- The municipality has the local capacity to manage the DRI process; and
- The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for near-term implementation with an infusion of DRI funds.
Tupper Lake now joins the Village of Massena as the North Country Region's winners of the fifth round of the DRI. Plattsburgh, Watertown, Saranac Lake and Potsdam were the North Country Region's winners in the first four DRI rounds, respectively.
Tupper Lake 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 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 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 fifth round will be complete in 2022.
Executive Deputy Secretary of State Brendan C. Hughes said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative will help build Tupper Lake into a year-round destination in the heart of the Adirondacks. The Department of State looks forward to working with Tupper Lake to develop and implement its strategic plan in ways that leverage private investments to increase tourism and create more opportunities for residents, businesses and visitors to the North Country."
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Hope Knight said, "Tupper Lake's selection in the fifth round of the DRI will capitalize on the investments, projects and economic growth underway in the village. Through this program, the community will utilize the state's funding to better establish itself as a year-round Adirondack community with an engaging downtown that welcomes residents and visitors alike."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The flexibility of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative allows the program to benefit every region of the state, from the North Country all the way down to NYC. The common denominator is that all New Yorkers deserve the opportunity to live in economically healthy communities with access to employment, services and quality affordable housing. The awards announced today for Tupper Lake will generate additional tourism activity, attract new businesses, improve infrastructure and expand housing options. Congratulations to the winning community."
NYSERDA President and CEO Doreen M. Harris said, "Congratulations to Tupper Lake as they continue to put themselves on the map for their revitalization efforts and as a great place to live and visit, while incorporating climate friendly energy efficiencies into their planning. NYSERDA stands ready to assist with technical support to incorporate carbon neutrality into their housing, streetscape and entertainment plans to enhance the enjoyment and protection of this gem of the Adirondacks."
Senator Daniel Stec said, "A vibrant downtown is a hub of economic, cultural and social activity that benefits an entire region. Tupper Lake certainly has all the right ingredients. Adirondack charm, walkability, an ambitious business community and The Wild Center. This community is moving in the right direction and there's every reason to believe Tupper Lake will become an even more attractive destination in the years ahead with the help of this well-deserved state funding. Congratulations to Mayor Paul Maroun, the village board and the team of local business and civic leaders who presented an inspiring vision and made a wonderful pitch for this award."
Assemblymember Billy Jones said, "Congratulations to the Village of Tupper Lake for this well-deserved DRI grant for their uptown district. Anyone who has visited Tupper Lake in recent years has witnessed how hard local leaders and residents have worked to revitalize their community and make it a welcoming place for tourists. Between the Wild Center, the Adirondack Sky Observatory, along with new and developing small businesses, you can feel the dedication and commitment of the people of Tupper Lake for making their village a great place to live and visit. I am proud to support this project and look forward to what the future has in store for the Village of Tupper Lake."
Tupper Lake Mayor Paul Maroun said, "I thank Governor Hochul and the North Country Regional Economic Development Council, on their selection of the Village of Tupper Lake with a 10 Million Dollar DRI award. We have worked hard to put a truly significant Revitalization Package forward. I'm ecstatic."
North Country Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Dr. Ty Stone, Jefferson Community College President, and James McKenna, Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO, said, "On behalf of our fellow Council members, we offer our congratulations to Tupper Lake and its renewed focus on the village's Uptown District. Through the DRI, the village will look to advance projects that support its vision as a walkable, year-round draw for visitors, with added entertainment and housing to benefit residents."
About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative launched 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, the initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation, bringing with it an interagency team of state experts to support local government capacity in realizing their community's vision.
In the first four years of the program, the state committed $400 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity. The fifth round of the DRI will have an additional $200 million commitment. 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 at least $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.
Downtown redevelopment plays a critical role in the State's nation-leading efforts to support sustainable economic development, reverse climate change, and promote climate justice by creating walkable, bikeable and transit-accessible communities that significantly reduce automobile use and greenhouse gas emissions. The DRI also supports the State's Health Across All Policies/Age-Friendly NY initiative by creating more opportunities for outside recreation and exercise; offering safe, accessible public spaces for social interaction, which improves mental health; and expanding access to fresh, nutritious food, particularly in underserved communities.
The initiative is headed by New York State Department of State. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and state Homes and Community Renewal.