© 2022
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Cohoes Seeks $100 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative

Mayor Morse
Lucas Willard/WAMC
Cohoes Mayor Shawn Morse

Six months after a massive fire leveled dozens of buildings, the city of Cohoes is applying to the third round of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo's $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 

One community in each of the 10 Regional Economic Development Council zones will receive a $10 million investment. Applications for the third round of the contest are due June 1st.

After unsuccessfully applying in the first two rounds of DRI, Mayor Shawn Morse believes "third time's a charm." "I think Cohoes is in the prime spot to use that money to really be transformational, and that is my understanding of what this grant is all about. Taking a downtown and truly transforming it into a vibrant part of the community, and I think we're in the best position to make that happen.”

Cohoes Common Council Member Randy Koniowka is anxious to see if the city will be fortunate enough to get the $10 million.  "You look at a city our size and you look at $10 million, it could certainly have a tremendous impact. Not taking away from some of the larger cities in our area, I think that we would certainly see a bigger bang for your buck so to speak in what we will be able to do in our downtown. Downtowns have been struggling all over, as we know, and Cohoes has been no exception. We've seen some successes, we've seen some failures and ultimately we wanna bring the historic downtown back. So I certainly applaud the governor for putting these initiatives forward, and I believe this is the third year they're doing it, so we thank him for that and hopefully we'll put our best foot forward in our application and keep our fingers crossed."

The city is still recovering from a massive November fire that did millions of dollars of damage to a multi-block downtown area. Morse says the fire has left a gaping hole in the heart of the downtown. And while Cohoes may not have many resources, "We have a desire to get things done, and everyday we're thinking about new ways to do work and we're thinking out of the box, and you know it's really paid off. And we've been lucky enough to win some grants that have been very helpful to us, and I believe that's directly related to the fact that they see Cohoes as putting its money where its mouth is."

Morse adds that  building off previous investments and momentum, he believes the city can once again attract new businesses and people downtown. "Look, if you wanna get it done, and you're willing to put your nose to the grind, and you're out there working hard every day, you get things done. But they go a lot faster when you have $10 million, so..."

The city held an open house Thursday. Morse says he spoke with many residents who shared their excitement about the direction of the city and the possibilities.

One community in each of the ten Regional Economic Development Council zones will be selected by the REDC to receive a $10 million investment following an application process and thorough evaluation of each downtown's potential for transformation. Applications for the third round are due June 1, 2018. Regional Councils will review multiple criteria to select nominees:

  • How compact and walkable is the downtown?
  • Is there enough nearby population to support a vibrant, year-round downtown?
  • Has there been past investments that are likely to spur future investments in the downtown?
  • Is there recent or future job growth that can attract workers to downtown?
  • Do activities and housing support diverse populations of all ages, including existing residents, millennials and skilled workers?
Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.
Related Content