In November, Vincent DeSantis was elected to complete the remainder of former mayor Dayton King’s four-year term.
He ran on the Democratic and Gloversville Party lines. King, a Republican, resigned after admitting to a misdemeanor misconduct charge.
DeSantis is looking ahead.
“Talking about the long-term and looking into the future, one of the most important things is the fact that we have the Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan in process for the entire area that borders the Cayadutta Creek and the Mill Creek that comes in from the west, and the area of that takes up probably 60 percent of all the neighborhoods in the city. And so that’s a visioning thing for a plan for redevelopment of that whole area and how it relates to the waterfront,” said DeSantis.
Mayor DeSantis told me that over the last year-and-a-half or so, the city secured $6 million in grants to help shape its future. A grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will allow the city to review former industrial sites in the city once known for its manufacturing. With a waterfront plan shaping up and assessments to come, DeSantis is optimistic that the city can then apply for more funding for redevelopment.
DeSantis is looking to younger generations to transform the Fulton County city, where the population has dropped by about a third — to today’s 15,000 residents — since 1950. He has a vision for it to be a hub for the creative economy.
“The idea that we have a walkable, historic, interesting downtown that can be developed with new businesses and the right array of businesses, and upper-story development of these three-story buildings into live-work spaces, makes Gloversville really, I think, very attractive to what we call the creative class. These are young people, millennials, who are looking for a walkable lifestyle. It’s literally, in 15-20 minutes from downtown Gloversville you can be on the shores of a number of lakes,” said DeSantis.
During our conversation Friday, the mayor told me of a New Jersey cybersecurity firm that recently purchased four buildings on South Main Street. It was meeting with the city’s grant writer to discuss plans to redevelop the properties into mixed-use with residential and commercial space.
It’s something that he says points to how the perception of Gloversville is changing.
“The only crises we ever have are crises of confidence. And my feeling is that if we can generate that confidence, that confidence in the future…if we can generate the perception that Gloversville is a city that has a bright future, I think you are most of the way there. You’re 75 percent of the way there if you can change the perception and the attitudes of people. And I think we’re in the process of doing that,” said DeSantis.