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Downtown projects: Some changes, mostly on-track ADVERTISEMENT

Downtown projects: Some changes, mostly on-track

WATKINS GLEN--Despite some changes, downtown improvement projects totaling roughly $8.5 million are still on track in Watkins Glen.
Originally granted $9.7 million through the state Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) project, as it stands now $1.2 million worth of projects will not go through as originally planned with another $200,000 of projects identified that may not happen.
"Each property owner has to put the money up, spend it and then get reimbursed. So because of that process and other requirements we have had some projects not go forward," said Judy McKinney Cherry, executive director for the Schuyler County Partnership For Economic Development.
Currently, the only DRI projects known for sure to not be going forward are a mixed-use project located at 109-111 North Franklin St. and a renovation of the CarQuest building located at 201 North Franklin St. The mixed-use project was expected to cost $12 million of which DRI funds would have covered $1 million and the CarQuest renovation was expected to cost $420,000 with $200,000 coming from DRI funds.
According to documentation provided by Cherry most of the projects awarded DRI funding are in some stage of review. The projects awarded DRI funding include the following: (see chart on page 16 for DRI award amounts and total project cost).
15 N. Franklin St.; Mixed-Income Housing, 2nd St.; 109-111 N. Franklin St.; Multi-site improvements; Clute Park; WG Performing Arts, Middle School auditorium; Captain Bill's; Spa and Fitness VFW building; Improvement Fund; East Fourth St. Improvements; Franklin St. lighting; Gateway Signage; Zoning; and Lafayette Park.
"What we have to do is get through what we have right now because it requires a tremendous amount of management," Cherry said.
She added that once the current slate of projects are finished an effort will be made to figure out what, if anything, can be done with the money that wasn't spent.
"People need to remember that what happens with that money is a state decision," Cherry said.
However, despite all projects being DRI funds many are administered by different state or local agencies.
"State departments and agencies all have their own timelines," Cherry said.

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