Aurora/Cayuga/Union Springs to Jointly Receive $10 million from Downtown Revitalization Initiative; Canastota and Brewerton to Receive $4.5 Million Each from NY Forward
Downtown Revitalization Investments are a Critical Part of the State’s Comprehensive Economic Development and Community Growth Strategy
$100 Million NY Forward Program Builds on Momentum of the Successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative to Support a More Equitable Downtown recovery for New York’s Smaller and Rural Communities
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Aurora/Cayuga/Union Springs will jointly receive $10 million in funding as the Central New York winner of the seventh round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, as well as Canastota and Brewerton/Hastings as this year’s Central New York region NY Forward winners, receiving $4.5 million each. For Round 7 of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, each of the state's 10 economic development regions are being awarded $10 million, to make for a total state commitment of $100 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods.
Building on the momentum of the successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the $100 million NY Forward program adopts the same "Plan-then-Act" strategy as the DRI, which couples strategic planning with immediate project implementation to support a more equitable downtown resurgence for New York's smaller and rural communities.
With the Governor’s commitment last year of $100 million each for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward, the State has now invested a combined total of $1 billion in both programs since their inception. The Governor has proposed another $100 million for each program, totaling $200 million, in her Fiscal Year 2025 Executive Budget.
“New York State’s downtowns are the lifeblood of our communities,” Governor Hochul said. “The funding announced today will go a long way in uplifting our downtowns and supporting our commitment to building a better New York.”
$10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award for Aurora/Cayuga/Union Springs
Aurora, Cayuga and Union Springs took the innovative approach of combining their three nearby downtowns along Cayuga Lake into one comprehensive and mutually supporting DRI application—titled, “Cayuga County’s Quaint Lakeside Village Corridor”—after each had applied individually for NY Forward last year. The combined applications, and the projects identified, will create an inter-connected tourism corridor along the northeast side of Cayuga Lake, while also achieving catalytic transformations in each individual community. Projects identified, with assistance from the Cayuga County Planning Department and significant public input, will enhance tourism and business goals through enhanced lake access, walkable neighborhoods, diverse retail and job creation, cultural and recreational opportunities, lodging and housing. The three villages believe strongly that the region and corridor need to continue to collaborate at all levels to achieve successful and transformative revitalization and growth.
Aurora/Cayuga/Union Springs will jointly begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize their downtowns with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders and other stakeholders will lead the eﬀort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan will examine local assets and opportunities to identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with each community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The Strategic Investment Plan will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the communities’ vision for their downtowns and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment. Plans for the DRI's seventh round will be complete in 2024.
$4.5 Million NY Forward Awards for Canastota and Brewerton
With its historic village, proximity to the Boxing Hall of Fame and past investments, the Village of Canastota has demonstrated that it is ready for transformative growth through the NY Forward award. The village boasts abundant recreational opportunities, including a vast trail system that intersects with several other trails, including the Empire State trail, making Canastota one of the most walkable and outdoor recreation-friendly communities in Central New York. The village is also ideally located within close proximity to several colleges, a Thruway exit and the Syracuse and Utica metropolitan markets. NY Forward projects identified will capitalize on these assets and enhance the Village’s rural charm and Erie Canal heritage.
The Hamlet of Brewerton—which encompasses the downtown waterfronts of the Towns of Hastings and Cicero and straddles both sides of the Oneida River—embraced the opportunity to bring the two towns together to collaborate on a joint, mutually supported application, after each had submitted separate applications last year. Given both communities’ proximity to the Micron semi-conductor site, NY Forward investments are being viewed as the first step towards intentional, strategic and collaborative planning and development to address the opportunities and challenges presented by Micron by welcoming new residents, visitors and businesses in the years to come. Known as the “Gateway to Oneida Lake,” Brewerton offers a wealth of water-based recreational opportunities. Projects identified will enhance streetscape walkability and connectivity between the waterfronts, thus enhancing access to restaurants, parks, entertainment, paddling and parks. These public improvements will lay the foundation for future private sector investments that will attract more businesses and events to the downtown and foster more Smart Growth development in an area where demand will accelerate due to Micron.
Canastota and Brewerton/Hastings will now begin the process of jointly developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize their downtowns. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders and other stakeholders will lead the eﬀort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan will examine local assets and opportunities to identify projects that align with each community's vision and that are poised for implementation. Funding will be awarded for selected projects from the Strategic Investment Plan that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and generate new opportunities for long-term growth.