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Press Release

Monday, January 23, 2023 - 1:34pm
Downtown Revitalization Investments are a Critical Part of the State's Comprehensive Economic Development and Community Growth Strategy State to Work with Residents, Community Leaders and Public Officials to Revitalize Ticonderoga's Downtown Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the Town of Ticonderoga will receive $10 million in funding as the North Country winner of the sixth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. For Round 6 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. "Our Downtown Revitalization Initiative is key to transforming towns across the state into sustainable, affordable, and walkable communities where residents and visitors alike can thrive," Governor Hochul said. "The infusion of $10 million into Ticonderoga will enhance its natural beauty, revitalize local businesses, highlight its rich history, and ensure it is a community resilient to the challenges the future holds." The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) serves as a component of the State's economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract businesses, jobs and economic and housing diversity. Like past DRI rounds, each selected community will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identies a list of signature projects that have transformative potential and leverage further private and public investments. The Department of State will then award DRI funds to selected projects with the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community's vision. Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Monday, January 23, 2023 - 12:48pm
Village of Lancaster and Village of Wellsville to Receive $4.5 Million Each New $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 the Village of Lancaster and the Village of Wellsville will each receive $4.5 million in funding as the Western New York region winners of the first round of NY Forward. Building on the momentum of the state's successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the $100 million NY Forward program adopts the same "Plan-then-Act" strategy as the Downtown Revitalization Initiative to support a more equitable downtown recovery for New York's smaller and rural communities. As part of NY Forward Round One, two to three awards will be granted to smaller communities in each of the state's 10 economic development regions to support the development and implementation of a downtown revitalization plan.   "New York's downtowns are the lifeblood of our state, and my administration is committed to ensuring communities in every region have the resources they need to thrive," Governor Hochul said. "Through NY Forward, we're building on the continued success of our Downtown Revitalization Initiative to provide crucial support to New York's smaller and rural communities. I'm proud to announce this funding today for Lancaster and Wellsville to help bring our downtowns back and strengthen our communities for the next generation of New Yorkers." NY Forward is a component of the state's economic development efforts, working together with DRI to accelerate and expand New York's burgeoning downtown revitalization. NY Forward is meant to serve smaller communities and support local economies that often have a feel and historic character that is distinct from larger, more urban central business districts typically funded through DRI. NY Forward communities are walkable, less dense areas that serve the immediate local community, and are more local in nature, focusing on the immediate surrounding residential or rural agricultural centric development.  Read the full press release here.
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Press Release

Monday, January 23, 2023 - 12:35pm
Downtown Revitalization Investments are a Critical Part of the State's Comprehensive Economic Development and Community Growth Strategy State to Work with Residents, Community Leaders and Public Officials to Revitalize Dunkirk's Downtown Traducción al español Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the City of Dunkirk will receive $10 million in funding as the Western New York winner of the sixth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. For DRI Round 6, 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. "We are writing a new chapter of opportunity and prosperity for Western New York - prioritizing investments that will make the region a better place to live and visit," Governor Hochul said. "This funding will transform Dunkirk by activating the city's waterfront, creating inclusive workforce housing and expanding economic development opportunities. We will continue to invest in Western New York's revitalization efforts, which will help bring a renewed sense of hope to its communities." The DRI serves as a component of the State's economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract businesses, jobs and economic and housing diversity. Like past DRI rounds, each selected community will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have transformative potential and leverage further private and public investments. The Department of State will then award DRI funds to selected projects with the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community's vision. Read the full press release here.   
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Board Meeting

Monday, January 23, 2023 - 11:00am
This meeting is open to the public. The meeting will be streamed and available by clicking the link below. Due to building procedures, those wishing to attend must RSVP by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, January 20. RSVP press line (800) 260-7313; RSVP public line (518) 292-5105.
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Public Notice

Friday, January 20, 2023 - 2:00pm
View all grants to be presented at the batch virtual public hearing.
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Press Release

Thursday, January 19, 2023 - 2:00pm
Downtown Revitalization Investments are a Critical Part of the State's Comprehensive Economic Development and Community Growth Strategy State to Work with Residents, Community Leaders and Public Officials to Revitalize East Harlem Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that East Harlem will receive $10 million in funding as the New York City region winner of the sixth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Each of the state's 10 economic development regions will be awarded $10 million during this sixth round, which will total a $100 million state commitment to help communities boost their economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods. "The rich culture and history of East Harlem is an incredibly important part of New York City's story," Governor Hochul said. "Through this $10 million investment, we can help the community preserve its heritage and spur economic development within the neighborhood for generations to come. I look forward to seeing East Harlem write the next chapter in its vibrant story." The DRI serves as a component of the state's economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract businesses, jobs and economic and housing diversity. Like past DRI rounds, each selected community will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have transformative potential and leverage further private and public investments. The Department of State will then award DRI funds to selected projects with the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community's vision. Read the full press release here.
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Board Meeting

Thursday, January 19, 2023 - 9:30am
The meeting is open to the public. The public may also view and listen to the meeting via webcast by clicking the link below. Please Note: Due to building procedures, members of the public attending in-person should please RSVP by 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 18, 2022. Members of the press should please call (800) 260-7313; Members of the public should please call (212) 803-3772. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by Noon on Wednesday, January 18, 2022. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will posted online.
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Report

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 - 3:03pm
View report
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Board Meeting

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 - 11:00am
With Video Conferencing To: Empire State Development – Albany Office, 625 Broadway – 8th Floor Conference Room, Albany, New York 12245 And: USA Niagara Development Corporation Offices, 222 First Street – 7th Floor Conference Room, Niagara Falls, NY 14303 This meeting is open to the public. Webcasting of the meeting is available by clicking the link below. Due to building procedures, those wishing to attend at any of these locations must RSVP by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 13, 2023. RSVP press line (800) 260-7313; RSVP public line (212) 803-3772. Members of the public may submit comments on the Agenda items in writing to [email protected] by 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 13, 2023. All comments received by the deadline will be distributed to the Directors prior to the meeting and will be posted online.
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Press Release

Monday, January 16, 2023 - 12:00pm
New York State’s Investments in the African American Heritage Corridor Will Help Create A Unified Tourist Destination in East Buffalo See Renderings of the Addition Here Empire State Development (ESD) today announced the completion of Phase I and the start of the second phase of construction at the historic Michigan Street Baptist Church in Buffalo.  Phase I included a stabilization effort of critical structural components of the church, funded through grants from ESD and the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP), along with other State and federal sources.  Phase 2 involves a $2.2 million project to expand facilities, including a two-story addition to further ensure the building’s structural integrity and address safety and programming needs at the church, while also providing better access for disabled visitors. The Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, a not-for-profit organization that owns the Church, is one of the recipients of a portion of ESD’s $65 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund that is helping boost tourism and visitation to Buffalo’s historic Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor. ESD is collaborating with a consortium of philanthropic partners known as “East Side Avenues”, managed by the University at Buffalo Regional Institute. East Side Avenues is providing funding for staff/programs for the Heritage Corridor Commission—of which the Church is an anchor institution—to best complement and leverage capital funds provided by ESD and OPRHP. Empire State Development President, CEO, and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “Our Collective goal is to create a unified tourist destination that will tell the story of Buffalo’s contribution to African American history while attracting new visitors to the region. We are strengthening Buffalo’s cultural tourism potential by creating a hub of activities for visitors that includes the Michigan Street Baptist Church, the Colored Musicians Club, Nash House and the Nash Lofts multi-use building. Capital investments in all the Corridor projects will improve the visitor experience and better connect the assets to each other and downtown Buffalo.”   The Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition works to preserve and promote the heritage of the Michigan Street Baptist Church, located at 511 Michigan Avenue. The church was completed by African Americans in 1849 and was the last stop on the Underground Railroad for freedom seekers escaping to Canada before the Civil War. It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1974. The second phase of construction includes an addition to the north side of the Michigan Street Baptist Church (circa 1848), which is designed to mirror a typical structure that would have existed in the neighborhood. It will provide accessibility to the upper and lower levels of the church, as well as accessible restrooms. Brick and stone veneer will be used as finish materials. Windows will have segmental arch brick headers and precast sills. The porch railing system is constructed with turned pickets and larger square newels and intermediate posts. The stair of the porch serves a first-floor front door, typical of the raised stoop buildings that were formerly in the neighborhood. Handicapped access is provided at the rear of the addition, at a split level. ESD is providing a $2,211,500 grant for the second phase of the project to further realize the restoration and rehabilitation work needed to make this cultural cornerstone accessible to all in the community. Previously New York State supported Phase I through a grant of $900,000 from ESD and a $375,000 grant from OPRHP to aid in the structural stabilization of the building. New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid, “Telling the whole story of our history is the only way to truly understand the tremendous heritage in our state and the Michigan Street Baptist Church is such a vital piece of that history. I am pleased that State Parks can contribute to this important project.” Lillie Wiley-Upshaw, Chair of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission Board and Chair of the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition said,” It has been a privilege to witness the restoration and development of a church built in 1849 by freedom seekers into a local and national historic site.  The church’s operational board the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition are thankful for the ongoing support from the Buffalo area community and our funders.” With support from Governor Kathy Hochul, ESD is implementing the East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund, a $65 million initiative to spark revitalization of Buffalo’s East Side through investments in the four main commercial corridors: Michigan, Jefferson, Fillmore, and Bailey avenues. Funding is helping to revive traditional main streets and commercial corridors through the preservation of historic buildings, investing in capital improvements in neighborhood assets, expansion of commercial opportunities, improvements to infrastructure, as well as the promotion of mixed-use private investment in these neighborhoods.  In June 2022, Governor also announced a “Regional Revitalization Partnership” (RRP) with philanthropic organizations and local government, which will involve a $300 million combined investment in East Buffalo, Niagara Falls, and Rochester.  Under the RRP, the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor and its anchors are targeted for an additional combined investment of $30 million to help implement components of its strategic master plan completed with ESD funding in February 2022. Laura Quebral, University at Buffalo Regional Institute Director said, “"This investment is a testament to the enduring, collaborative work being done by the anchors of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission. It also illustrates New York State's dedication to East Buffalo along with the funding partners of East Side Avenues and the Regional Revitalization Partnership. It supports the community-driven, comprehensive strategic and economic development plans launched last year by the Commission and is part of a cohesive effort to ensure the Corridor's successful transformation into a unique, historic, inspirational place for residents and tourists alike." Terry Alford, Executive Director of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission said, “The strategic planning and the work of the Corridor anchors along with community support and dedicated funding are helping to make our visions a reality. We are proud of the Corridor’s growth and there is more to come, stated Terry Alford, Executive Director, of the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor Commission.” Senator Tim Kennedy said, "For more than 50 years, Bishop William Henderson presided over the Michigan Street Baptist Church, and actually saved the church - an iconic and irreplaceable piece of Buffalo’s history - from demolition. As we celebrate this milestone, we know he is with us in spirit. It’s fitting that we open these doors on a day honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Both Dr. King and Bishop Henderson inspired a new generation of engaged citizens, and encouraged them to not only move our community forward by looking ahead, but by preserving the history that has led us to this very moment." Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes said, "To God Be the Glory, it has been a long time in the making and this day has finally come. Congratulations to Lillie Wiley-Upshaw and the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, the Michigan Street African American Heritage Corridor, and a huge thank you to the Community Foundation of Greater Buffalo for keeping this historic structure upright long enough for Empire State Development, State Parks/SHPO and others to provide the necessary funding to complete this first phase of construction. It's very fitting that this announcement happen on MLK Jr. Day, given the church's involvement in social justice advocacy efforts." City of Buffalo Mayor Byron W. Brown said, “The changes taking place here at the Michigan Street Baptist Church, are just some of the many positive improvements that are coming to the African American Heritage Corridor and East Buffalo. I want to thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her continued support and investment in our community.” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said, “The Michigan Street Baptist Church has been a beacon of hope to generations of African-Americans, from providing comfort and solace to people escaping slavery before the Civil War to serving as a community hub for well more than a century. This historic structure is an integral part of the African-American experience in Erie County and we are doing all we can to preserve and protect it for future generations.” About the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station In 2001 the Buffalo Niagara Freedom Station Coalition, a not-for-profit organization was created to protect and promote the Michigan Street Baptist Church building as a beacon of freedom and to tell its story from its founding in 1845 to today and to inspire and educate future generations. With the help of community stakeholders, they tell the unique stories of the African American experience in Buffalo, to enrich and illuminate the larger African American narrative. In particular, the Board focuses on the Church’s roles in the underground railroad, the formation of the Civil Rights Movement and other chapters of American history related to the struggle for individual liberties. The Church remains operating as a church as part of the “Light of the World Missions” and as a historic landmark, a beacon for the community in the revitalization process envisioned as part of the African American cultural heritage tourism for the Corridor. More information can be found at michiganstreetbaptistchurch.org About Empire State Development Empire State Development is New York’s chief economic development agency. The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing the Governor’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I Love NY,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.  About East Side Avenues East Side Avenues is a unique public/private partnership that provides capacity building, funding and organizational support to complement five specific initiatives along Bailey, Fillmore, Jefferson and Michigan Avenues.  Understanding the tremendous opportunity to leverage New York State’s $65 million East Side Corridor Economic Development Fund, private and philanthropic organizations created a pooled $8 million to support these capacity building activities. East Side Avenues brings together these public and private funders, community non-profits, anchor institutions, consultants and the City to plan and coordinate revitalization activities aimed at improving economic conditions on Buffalo’s East Side.  The East Side Avenues Project Implementation Team is led by University at Buffalo Regional Institute, ensuring that appropriate supports such as infrastructure, staff and funding are in place; assisting with strategic planning, program design and problem solving; and reporting on progress.  For more information, go to  www.EastSideAvenues.org. Contact: Pamm Lent | [email protected] | (716) 846-8309 Laura Magee | [email protected] | (716) 846-8239
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