Penn Yan earns $10 million grant
PENN YAN--"This is a great day for Penn Yan!"
That was the sentiment of Mayor Leigh MacKerchar and the 100 people gathered Friday, Oct. 5 at the Keuka Candy Emporium for the announcement from Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul that Penn Yan was the latest recipient of a state $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.
Hochul said, "The Finger Lakes region is home to some of the greatest natural assets in the world, and I have seen firsthand how Penn Yan has been enriched by our growing upstate economy and booming craft beverage industry," said Hochul, who made the announcement. "Penn Yan is at the heart of the Finger Lakes, with a historic downtown that is primed for significant investment. With $10 million from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the village will be able to move forward with plans to improve housing, tourism assets, and transportation connections."
MacKerchar said there are four reasons why Penn Yan received this grant. He said, "Patience (third time applying for the award), persistence, positivity and the fourth most important reason is because of Steve Griffin (CEO of the Finger Lakes Economic Center)." The mayor said Griffin came to him a couple of years ago and said the governor has a program for downtown areas that want to grow and it would probably be a good fit for Penn Yan.
MacKerchar said, " This investment will spur further growth while enhancing our current assets throughout the community. This is a great day for Penn Yan and the entire Finger Lakes region."
Assembly Member Phil Palmesano said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is right at home in Penn Yan. The downtown area is ripe for growth and ready to usher in the next generation of residents and businesses."
Penn Yan will now 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 for downtown Penn Yan will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The downtown Penn Yan strategic investment plan will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the community's vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment. Plans for the DRI's third round will be complete in 2019.
The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council went through a competitive review process of proposals from communities throughout the region and considered all eight criteria below before recommending Penn Yan as its nominee:
• The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
• The municipality, or the downtown's catchment area, should be of sufficient size to support a vibrant, year-round downtown;
• The downtown is able to capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment in the neighborhood and its surrounding areas;
• 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;
• The downtown must be an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, including existing residents, millennials and skilled workers;
• The municipality should already embrace or have the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes and parking standards, complete streets plans, energy efficient projects, green jobs, and transit-oriented development;
• The municipality should have conducted an open and robust community engagement process resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives that may be included in a DRI strategic investment plan; and
• The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for implementation with an infusion of DRI funds within the first one to two years.