Tupper Lake officials hold first public workshop on Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant process
Officials in Tupper Lake, consultants and state partners have been meeting with the local planning committee to coalesce plans for the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant awarded to the village in late December. This week the first public workshop was held virtually for residents to learn about the program and provide feedback.
It followed two meetings with the 13-member Local Planning Committee. About 50 people joined the virtual meetingto learn about and discuss the village’s draft DRI vision and strategies.
MJ Engineering is the lead consultant. Land Surveying Director of Planning Services and consultant team project manager Jaclyn Hakes introduced the local planning committee members, state and regional partners and consultants working on the DRI plans. She then outlined the DRI history and process.
“The village and the LPC will identify a slate of projects to recommend for the DRI and those projects fall within four categories. There is a public improvements category, a new construction and rehabilitations category, a revolving loan and grants category and a branding and marketing category." Hakes added, "Some of the key elements of DRI potential projects are that they can be leveraging other dollars, leveraging other investments and that they serve as catalysts for future revitalization in your downtown. They should be aligned not only with the state goals but your local goals for your uptown area.”
Hakes explained that, working with consultants, the Local Planning Committee will create a strategic investment plan that identifies and prioritizes projects.
“That slate of projects and that strategic investment plan will be shared with the state and ultimately the state will make the decision on which projects do get funded through the DRI program.”
MJ Engineering Senior Planner Sarah Starke Hesse says they are planning a variety of community engagement efforts to assure public input throughout the process to create a concise vision.
“Right now the vision is a vibrant uptown Tupper Lake. Once a vision for the community has been identified the next step is mapping out a plan to achieve that vision. We do through identifying a set of focused goals and specific strategies to achieve those goals.”
Breakout groups focused on goals, strategies, opportunities and challenges. Hesse explained that the input received through these discussions will help establish three key strategies. Residents, including Michelle Clement, reviewed PowerPoint slides and found greater opportunities for seasonal recreation.
“You really have a really great point with summer and fall. But I feel like the statement above really seems to focus you know it talks about waterfront. The first bullet right here it talks about activities the waterfront, baseball field, parks and trails. Which are very summer and fall oriented and weather is a really good opportunity to move the dial is winter. Mud and black fly season is a little bit challenging Adirondack-wide, but winter there definitely still has room for growth in Tupper Lake.”
KB Engineering PLLC owner Kurt Bedore said new development opportunities must not focus only on the service and recreation sectors.
“We want Tupper Lake to be a destination. But you know I don’t have anything particularly in mind but industries and light industries, appropriate commercial, retail opportunities that would balance out the service and recreational sector. I don’t think Tupper Lake should be a one-trick pony with recreational. Ideally to hedge it and give it a more balanced approach to attract new businesses as well.”
Other items discussed by residents included high speed internet, parking and public restrooms.