New York Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul was in Plattsburgh this afternoon to announce the final projects that have been approved for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative awarded to the city last summer.
In his 2016 State of the State address Governor Cuomo announced a $100 million competitive grant program. Ten cities, one from each Regional Economic Development area, would receive a $10 million revitalization grant. On July 6th, 2016, Plattsburgh was selected as the winning North Country DRI community. Since then community engagement and strategy meetings have been occurring with economic development consultants.
The final projects that will be funded were announced Thursday. They include mixed use redevelopment of the Durkee Street parking lot; creation of a food incubator and a shared commercial kitchen; waterfront development projects, downtown improvements, arts and theatre improvements at the Strand Cultural Center and targeted downtown marketing.
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul praised the city as she formally announced the projects. “Something like this can really literally almost overnight transform a downtown area. So you’ve ran with it. You took the challenge. You’ve been preparing all this time. And in less than a year with the support of $300,000 we put toward consultants because we knew if you want to do it right you have to give a little bit of extra help for the local community. And we think that really made a difference. So you’re already doing so many things right here in Plattsburgh and the North Country. You’re leaning hard into your identity and your assets. We understand, again, it is not up for us to tell you who you are but we’ll help you get where you want to be. And that’s the whole premise behind the DRI.”
Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce President Garry Douglas says this final commitment of the $10 million will transform Plattsburgh. “The things that it’s investing in are specifically meant to further the attractiveness of Plattsburgh through its downtown for the retention of people, the attraction of people and the attraction of investment. Particularly with the younger generations they like downtowns they want to live in urban cores. They like that kind of atmosphere. So furthering more quality housing development downtown and some of the other things that are part of this package we believe will reinforce the good things already happening in Plattsburgh and allow us to do even more good things over the next few years.”
Plattsburgh Mayor Colin Read says the dreaming and planning phase is over and now the work of implementation begins. “One of the first things you’re going to see is our, that Highway Oil relic coming down off of Bridge Street and putting a little bit of green space in there until we decide how we’re going to plan and develop the Durkee Street area. You’re going to see a lot more streetscaping, historic signs, signage that can tell people where Ye Olde Shoppe is, etc. You’re going to see a lot more celebrating of our historical and cultural assets downtown very quickly starting this year. I’d like to be able to get some projects going that are kind of low hanging fruit to give people a sense of excitement and then that will hopefully draw people in to wanting to get involved in some of the bigger projects.”
The 2018 state budget includes a new $100 million round of the DRI to select 10 new communities. Applications must be submitted to regional economic development councils by June 14th.