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Capital Region News

Albany Receives $10M Downtown Revitalization Grant

Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Assemblyman John McDonald.
WAMC photo by Jesse King
Assemblywoman Pat Fahy, Albany County Executive Dan McCoy, Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Assemblyman John McDonald.

New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was in downtown Albany Thursday to announce the city won a $10 million state grant to redevelop the area downtown near the Palace Theatre.

"I'm so honored today to announce that the city of Albany is now the recipent of a $10 dollar Downtown Revitalization Initiative from the state of New York, congratulations...  [applause fades out]"

Albany's third attempt at winning funding through Governor Andrew Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative proved to be the charm after the Capital City lost in the previous two rounds of the regional competition to Hudson and Glens Falls.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the city has identified "a number of projects."    "This is $10 million but it's going to spur about $280 million in investment in Clinton Square. So these are, um, you know this funding is gonna be available for those projects, they'll be applying for that funding, and typically it's a 5-1 match, so for every dollar there's an additional $5 of private sector or organizational funding that goes along with it."

The mayor notes there will be an application process.  Ground zero for development is the Clinton Square neighborhood surrounding the Palace Theater, especially where visitors get their first look at the city.   "Some of the infrastructure improvements that the city is looking to make are around our lighting and wayfinding when people come off the exit ramp we have some ideas about how we wanna welcome people to that and make it more inviting and more attractive. There are plans underway to take some of the parkspace on the right hand side and create opportunity  for there to be popup vendors there, there are cargo crates that you can put in for retail and for people who are looking to start up new restaurants, so we're looking at some fund space like that, but we're also looking at the investments that are happening in Quackenbush Square where we're looking to have a hotel built and residential housing investments along Clinton, around affordable housing, the investments that the Palace is looking to make, so this funding is really designed to help to seed a lot of the projects that are underway or are planned to be underway here in the Clinton Square area."

Sheehan says the city is read to go with shovel and plan-ready projects that will use the funding.   "We've already reached out to the various projects that are either proposed or underway, to identify where are there gaps, where is there a need for some additional funding in order to make that project a reality."

Revitalization already happening downtown includes Capital Repertory Theatre moving into a newly renovated building at 251 North Pearl Street,  plans to expand the Palace Theatre, along with The Albany Skyway Project, which would turn the Clinton Avenue Ramp off I-787 into a landscaped, multi-use pathway for pedestrians and bicyclists.

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