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In Gloversville, Gov. Hochul celebrates downtown investment at revitalized Glove Theatre

Governor Kathy Hochul speaks at the Glove Theatre in Gloversville,  as Mayor Vincent DeSantis and Little Falls Mayor Mark Blask look on.
Dave Lucas
Governor Kathy Hochul speaks at the Glove Theatre in Gloversville, as Mayor Vincent DeSantis and Little Falls Mayor Mark Blask look on.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul was in Gloversville today to celebrate a pair of $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative awards.

Hochul says the investments are part of her ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities in the Mohawk Valley.

The annual Downtown Revitalization Initiative grants date to the Cuomo administration, and localities must apply to be considered.

The awards Hochul promoted Monday are going to the cities of Gloversville and Little Falls. 12 projects were approved in Gloversville and eight in Little Falls.

“These communities matter to me personally, and it's part of the commitment of a DRI, you know, the fact that we are investing over $10 million, not shared between these two communities, but each community to receive," said Hochul. "When I was in local government, if someone had come to my small town and said, ‘Here's a plan, committee members envision your future. And here's $10 million to do it,’ I would have fallen off a chair, because nobody, Albany, never did that for us back then. Which is why as governor I'm really continuing to ramp this program up and make sure more communities know how to apply for it.”

Gloversville Mayor Vincent DeSantis, a fellow Democrat, says $1.9 million is going toward renovating the historic Glove Theatre and $1.3 million for the historic Carriage House, which has been vacant for nearly two decades. DeSantis says it will house a microbrewery, sports bar, restaurant, and several units of housing on the upper floors.

“The biggest project that was approved was a new construction of a 75 unit $21 million dollar apartment complex, which is for artists and artisans’ residences. So this is really a really big step forward for the city,” DeSantis said.

DeSantis says the state funding will "supercharge" other development taking place citywide.

In Herkimer County, Little Falls' share of DRI funding includes $2.5 million dollars to create affordable senior housing and $1.8 million to transform Seeley Street into a bicycle and pedestrian waterfront walkway that will connect Canal Place to Moss Island and the historic Lock 17. Another $1.6 million will go to redesign and modernize the iconic Main Street Canopy.

Mayor Mark Blask, also a Democrat, characterizes the DRI program as "good government."

“We are 5000 strong in the city of Little Falls, our budget is $6 million," said Blask. "We were just given 10. You do not need to be an economics major here. This is truly transformative money.”

Again, Governor Hochul:

“Generations from now they will be grateful that you are in this room on this day, and went forth to execute the extraordinary vision that you all formulated," Hochul said. "And I'm grateful as the governor, I'm grateful to have people like all of you who love your community so deeply. So this is the future. This is the spirit that we're going to continue embracing. It's a whole new era. And let's lean hard into the future. Congratulations to Gloversville and to Little Falls.”

The Gloversville projects to be funded through the DRI include:

Renovating the Historic Glove Theatre - DRI Award $1,994,000

The Glove Theater's 40,000 sq. ft. Complex will be renovated and restored through this project, which includes various interior improvements to enhance safety and comfort.

Renovating the Carriage House - DRI Award: $1,360,000

The historic Carriage House, vacant for nearly two decades, will be rehabilitated to provide a microbrewery, sports bar, restaurant, as well as several units of housing on the upper floors. In addition to residential space, a portion of the upper floors will be utilized as flex space to function as a banquet space as needed.

Constructing Glove City Lofts - DRI Award: $1,250,000

Artist housing will be constructed on an existing vacant lot near City Hall through this project. It will offer approximately 75 loft-styled affordable housing units for mixed-income tenants, complete with greenspace and an art gallery managed by the Glove City Arts Alliance.

Activating St. Thomas Square for Year-Round Activities - DRI Award: $1,120,000

This project will create a strong connection to Main Street by redeveloping an underutilized park including: a new pedestrian and memorial area around Farmers Market Pavilion and an ice-skating area with associated amenities.

Revitalizing Daniel Hayes Mill - DRI Award: $1,050,000

This project will redevelop a former industrial site, including an historic four-story wood-framed brick structure and multiple single-story masonry buildings, for multi-family residential use that will bring new residents to downtown Gloversville and bring new life to a long-abandoned property.

Initiating Downtown Business Improvement Fund - DRI Award: $600,000

The Downtown Business Fund will provide small businesses and organizations in the DRI area with the financial support needed to bridge the funding gap for expansion and improvement projects. The city will award grants based on a competitive application, review process and match requirement.

Enhancing Public Amenities at Trail Station Park - DRI Award: $495,000

The second phase of a planned expansion at Trail Station Park will begin, replacing a large section of asphalt with amenities such as a splash pad, restroom, pavilion, and a changing area, as well as trees, picnic areas, trails, and greenspace.

Improving Streetscapes and Connectivity - DRI Award: $441,000

This project will create a more welcoming environment for visitors and residents by providing improved sidewalks, street trees for shade, and pedestrian lighting at key locations in the downtown.

Creating a Downtown Piazza - DRI Award: $435,000

This project will transform this centrally located completely vacant property into an urban plaza/public gathering place for public concerts and performances, weekly outdoor movie nights, and an urban park atmosphere. Space will be provided for food trucks and stalls for local restaurants. Green infrastructure will be incorporated to allow stormwater infiltration.

Transforming a Vacant Building into a Microbrewery - DRI Award: $359,000

A vacant former garage building will be repurposed into the headquarters for Glove City Brewing, with a microbrewery, kitchen restrooms, and an outdoor biergarten.

Renovating Schine Memorial Hall, Third Floor - DRI Award: $346,000

The third floor of Schine Memorial Hall, a prominent, three-story building that has been a downtown landmark since its construction in 1881, will be renovated to create an attractive space for the relocation of the Storto Glove Museum and coworking space for artists.

Reviving Former City Hall - DRI Award: $250,000

The ground floor of the former City Hall building will be renovated for the addition of a restaurant and bakery in the vacant space of the mixed-used building.

Gloversville developed a strategic investment plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million grant. A local planning committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The strategic investment plan for this area in Gloversville examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.

The Little Falls projects to be funded through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative include:

Creating Affordable Senior Housing - DRI Award: $2,500,000

Renovation of the M&T building will create senior housing, amenities for the residents, and commercial space, while maintaining the existing bank.

Enhancing Connectivity of Seeley Street - DRI Award: $1,800,000

Transform Seeley Street into a bicycle and pedestrian waterfront walkway by repaving the existing roadway and installing lighting and guide rails. This will connect Canal Place to Moss Island and the historic Lock 17.

Modernizing and Replacing the Iconic Main Street Canopy - DRI Award: $1,670,000

Redesign and modernize the iconic Main Street Canopy while retaining and preserving its historic character. Creating continuity of the canopy will benefit all businesses and visitors.

Improving Main Street Streetscape - DRI Award: $1,600,000

Improve the streetscape along the length of Main Street by including a separated two-way bike lane from Albany to Ann Street, green infrastructure between Ann and School Street, and repaving of the entire corridor.

Renovating Vacant Facility and Expand Public Access to Waterfront - DRI Award $640,000

Renovating a former hydroelectric facility into a vibrant space with offices for STEAM anchor tenants, a multipurpose community space, and a hub for film and movie production.

Establishing a Downtown Little Falls Fund to Support Small Business Development - DRI Award $600,000

Support smaller scale projects through the Downtown Little Falls Grant Fund such as façade improvements, signage, lighting, murals, and energy efficiency upgrades.

Enhancing Community Access and Use of the Little Falls Library - DRI Award $500,000

Increase accessibility of the Little Falls library with a new elevator shaft and elevator and transform its underutilized third floor into community spaces for counseling, GED prep, tutoring.

Increasing High-Quality Childcare and Community Services - DRI Award $390,000

Expand the Little Falls Youth & Family Center at its 45 Furnace Street location to increase the capacity of its existing childcare facility and redevelop the 524 E. Main Street location to accommodate an emergency childcare facility.

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.
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