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Governor Cuomo Announces Plattsburgh to Receive $10 Million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative

State to Collaborate With Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize Downtown Plattsburgh
(July 06, 2016)

Governor Cuomo Announces Plattsburgh to Receive $10 Million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative

North Country Project Will Transform Clinton County’s Downtown Center, Create Jobs and Boost Local Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Downtown Plattsburgh was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in the North Country. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative, first laid out in the Governor’s 2016 State of the State address, marks a comprehensive plan to transform local neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live and work.

The winner was selected as part of a competitive process by the state’s North Country Regional Economic Development Council and will receive $10 million in state funding to revitalize the local neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth and prosperity. The award will include up to $300,000 in planning funds for private sector experts to work with a local planning committee to draft a Strategic Investment Plan that will identify specific economic development, transportation, and housing and community projects. The grant is part of a $100 million effort to improve the urban vitality of city centers across the state. Plans will be completed by early 2017.

“Over the past six years, our Regional Councils have played an integral role in generating economic opportunity in communities across the state,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative will build on that momentum by investing in local assets to attract jobs, private investment and transform downtown areas into vibrant, diverse and economically active hubs. This is an important step forward in our effort to continue the economic renaissance happening in cities all across this state and ensure they remain a source of pride and prosperity for generations to come.”

The City of Plattsburgh

Downtown Plattsburgh is Clinton County’s gathering place. Over the last few years, strong and sustainable job growth in the region has increased the demand for housing and retail opportunities in the downtown. Under the DRI, Plattsburgh will build on recent investments, including a new municipal marina, streetscape improvements, and renovation of historic buildings to create a vibrant downtown that serves the needs of local employees, residents, students and visitors. The focus will be on mixed-use infill development, a greater variety of retail and housing, expansion of the successful Farmers’ Market, and providing an enhanced connection to the waterfront.

Downtown Revitalization Initiative

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is chaired by former New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, along with a team of planners from the Department of State and private sector experts, with support from Empire State Development, the Division of Homes and Community Renewal, and other state agencies.

Each Regional Council weighed seven criteria in selecting their nominee:
1) The targeted neighborhood should be compact and well-defined.
2) The downtown, or its center, should be of a size sufficient to support an active, year-round downtown and should have a sizeable existing or increasing population within easy reach for whom this would be the primary downtown.
3) The downtown should capitalize on prior, and catalyze future, private and public investment in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
4) There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable
5) The downtown must contain properties or characteristics that contribute or that could contribute, if enhanced, to the attractiveness and livability of the downtown, including the presence of developable mixed-use spaces, housing at different levels of affordability and type, commercial and retail main street businesses, including healthy and affordable food markets, walkability and bikeability, and public parks and gathering spaces
6) The downtown should contain or articulate how it can create policies that enhance quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes, complete streets plans, or transit-oriented development; and
7) Local and community support must exist for revitalization of the downtown. There must be a commitment among local leaders and stakeholders to build and implement a strategic investment plan for the downtown.

“Governor Cuomo's unprecedented Downtown Revitalization Initiative acknowledges that thriving urban centers are key to changing attitudes and bringing people back to our communities," said Regional Economic Development Chair Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “I have seen first-hand how revitalizing one downtown can be transformative for an entire region. With support from the Regional Council, that's exactly what we expect will happen here.”

“I congratulate these communities for their tremendous efforts and winning proposal,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “These areas are ripe for revitalization and this initiative will make these neighborhoods more livable and attract new residents, workers and visitors to the downtown, providing opportunity for job creation and economic growth. The Department of State is looking forward to working with the winning downtowns, many of whom we have shared successes with in years past.”

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is another example of Governor Cuomo’s innovative approach to economic development,” said James S. Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal. “By building on existing assets, including high-quality housing that incorporates retail and other conveniences for people at a variety of income levels, we will help downtowns reach their full potential as attractive, affordable places to live and work. Congratulations to the 10 communities that put their best foot forward to win this funding. I look forward to seeing the results.”

“It was a pleasure working with all of the Regional Economic Development Councils throughout this community-driven process,” said Cesar A. Perales, Chair of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. “The REDC members had a very difficult task in making their selections among the many strong candidates in each region. My thanks to the REDCs and my congratulations to the winning communities.”

Regional Economic Development Councils

Round VI of the REDC initiative will award more than $750 million in state funding and tax incentives. In 2016, all 10 REDCs will be competing for a designation as a Top Performer. Five Top Performers will be selected and will receive up to $25 million in Empire State Development Capital Grant funding, with the remaining five regions receiving up to $10 million. Additionally, each region will be eligible for up to $15 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow businesses in the region.

Regional Council priorities in 2016 include:
· Support the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Plan, and begin to identify priority projects in the defined community;
· Implementing strategies through the project pipeline;
· Training the workforce for today and tomorrow; and
· Measuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan and CFA projects.

By incentivizing the implementation of the strategic plans, Regional Councils, businesses, educational institutions, local governments, not-for-profit groups and other stakeholders are further motivated to work together to accomplish the regional vision. While project funding will be awarded to all 10 Regional Councils through the 2016 CFA, the competition places emphasis on Regional Council performance and action to implement strategies. Encouraging genuine cooperation among the REDCs and representatives of the community is critical to achieving economic development success.

In addition to the $10 million available to the winning Downtown Revitalization Initiative communities, state agencies will be awarding priority points through the CFA to additional downtown revitalization projects designed to transform communities ripe for development into vibrant, thriving neighborhoods.

Additionally, potential applicants from regions that were awarded $500 million through last year’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative are encouraged to submit CFAs in Round VI, as all three regions are full participants in this year’s REDC competition.

The deadline for CFA submissions is Friday, July 29th at 4 p.m.

For applicants, the CFA is available at https://apps.cio.ny.gov/apps/cfa/; and the 2016 REDC Guidebook and list of available resources can be found at www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov.

Senator Betty Little said, “Over the past several years, Plattsburgh’s downtown has seen tremendous job growth and economic development. This substantial investment into our downtown will build upon that success and bolster our efforts to secure a stronger economic future for Plattsburgh. I am proud that the Regional Economic Development Council recognizes Plattsburgh’s enormous potential to become a vibrant area that appeals to all residents and visitors alike. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s commitment to upstate investment in our promising downtown regions, Plattsburgh’s downtown is taking a major step toward seeing a brighter future.”

Assemblywoman Janet Duprey said, “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is restoring communities into vibrant and economically viable neighborhoods. Today we have the opportunity to build on our regional strengths here in Plattsburgh and continue our efforts to transform this city into a hub of opportunity for our residents, businesses and families. Governor Cuomo has spearheaded an innovative movement to bring much needed change to our downtown area. I also thank the North Country REDC for their commitment to revitalizing downtown and thank them for their hard work.”

Mayor James Calnon said, “The investments announced today will enable our community institutions and businesses to grow so that young people can stay here and take advantage of the new economic opportunities available to them. Our planning committee submitted a winning proposal that will develop our downtown area, strengthen the city’s vibrancy, commercial capacity and cultural charm. I thank the Governor for his commitment to ensuring downtown Plattsburgh remains a charm of Clinton County and I look forward to seeing the impact of the state’s investment in this community for years to come.”

North Country Regional Economic Develop Chair Anthony "Tony" G. Collins, Ph.D. said, “Economic investment in Upstate New York has a profound effect on the vitality and the future of the region. At the Regional Economic Development Council of North Country, we sought to select a city with a promising economic future that could be dramatically aided by this massive investment. Plattsburgh’s dynamic business community and attractive waterfront equip the city with the building blocks it needs to grow to its full potential. I thank the selection committee for their commitment and for recognizing the potential that lies in our downtown community. Governor Cuomo’s belief in the specific, transformative impact of community-based economic development is making tremendous impacts across the state and I am proud to be a part of that process.”
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