Herkimer to Receive $10 Million from Downtown Revitalization Initiative; Boonville and Richfield 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 Herkimer will receive $10 million in funding as the Mohawk Valley Region winner of the seventh round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, as well as Boonville and Richfield as this year’s Mohawk Valley 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.
“Through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward, we are helping communities transform their downtowns and enact visions of hope that would otherwise be impossible,” Governor Hochul said. “This funding will support Herkimer, Boonville, and Richfield as they carry out their plans to enhance the quality of life for New Yorkers in their communities, draw visitors, and spur economic opportunity for generations to come.”
$10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award for Herkimer
The Village of Herkimer has represented itself as “A Jewel with Multiple Facets,” a moniker that was clearly conveyed in its DRI application. Since its first submission, the Village has taken several impressive steps to improve its application and demonstrate its readiness to implement a DRI award, including—completing a strategic Master Plan; receiving funding to develop a New York Department of State Brownfield Opportunity Area Plan; revising its zoning code; refining its proposed projects; securing commitments for private sector investments; and expanding community engagement. Projects and strategies in the application focus on attracting needed jobs and economic development to the downtown through investments in anchor properties, entrepreneurial growth and walkability; enhancing the downtown cultural experience; connecting the downtown to recreational assets, such as the Mohawk River, Erie Canal and West Canada Creek; and improving downtown gateways that welcome businesses, residents and visitors.
Herkimer has been awarded $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize its downtown neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth following the local planning process. They join Oneonta, Rome, Amsterdam, Utica, Gloversville, Little Falls and Clinton/Kirkland, which were Mohawk Valley winners in the ﬁrst six rounds of the DRI.
Herkimer will begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown 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 Boonville and Richfield
The Village of Boonville’s application—entitled, “We’re Just Up the Road”—seeks to transform its downtown into an attractive destination for tourists and residents alike, building on its reputation as a hub for tourism and recreation, as well as the Gateway to the Adirondacks. Prior public sector grants have helped lay the foundation for successful revitalization by renovating mixed-use properties, enhancing parks, improving water quality, updating the Village/Town comprehensive plan with smart growth principles and achieving Clean Energy Community designation. Referring to itself as “walkable, bikable, adorable,” the Village’s downtown destinations and amenities are never more than a 10 or 20-minute walk away. Through this NY Forward award, the Village envisions improved pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, expanded small business opportunities, and enhanced public spaces with ample cultural activities.
The Greater Richfield Springs Downtown Area—located in the Town of Richfield and Village of Richfield Springs—is a small community with an outsized passion for the revitalization of its Main Street. Richfield’s NY Forward award will build on prior public and prior investments that have set the process of revitalization in motion. Projects and goals identified in its application focus on enhancements to the public realm through streetscape improvements; adaptive re-use of existing buildings; increased walkability and bikeability to promote public health and well-being; increased sustainability and decreased greenhouse gas emissions; support for small business growth in the downtown area; and increase awareness of, and appreciation for, its diverse cultural backgrounds.
Boonville and Richfield have each been awarded $4.5 million in state funding and investments to revitalize their downtown neighborhoods and generate new opportunities for long-term growth following the local planning process. They join Cooperstown, Sharon Springs and Dolgeville, which were Mohawk Valley winners in the ﬁrst round of NY Forward.
Boonville and Richfield will now begin the process of 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.