Watkins Glen earns $10M state grant
WATKINS GLEN--Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Thursday, Aug. 3 the village of Watkins Glen will receive $10 million in funding and investments as the Southern Tier winner of the second round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. As in the first round of the DRI, one municipality from each of the state's 10 regional economic development regions will be selected as a $10 million winner, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities identify downtown projects to boost the local economy.
"The first round of DRI proved to be a tremendous success, and by continuing to engage local communities and create new opportunities for business growth, downtowns across New York will thrive for decades," Cuomo said. "Revitalizing Watkins Glen will not only boost the local economy and foster job growth, it will provide an improved quality of life for the families who call this community home. I congratulate the Southern Tier on another DRI award and look forward to witnessing this region soar for generations to come."
Mayor of Watkins Glen Sam Schimizzi said, "Thanks to the Governor's historic commitment to Watkins Glen, I look forward to a bustling downtown, new jobs for our residents, and more visitors to our region, as we work together to build a stronger community for our future generations. This $10 million award will provide the jump-start our downtown needs to reinvigorate and grow, and I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the potential of our village and bringing our DRI plan to life."
The area selected for revitalization in the village of Watkins Glen comprises the walkable, compact traditional downtown as well as surrounding residential and commercial neighborhoods. There are more than 150 businesses as well as a number of residential properties and cultural institutions within the two-square mile area. Benefitting from local amenities include the Seneca Lake waterfront, parks, wine trails, a growing art scene and the internationally-recognized Watkins Glen International race. The community will use the Downtown Revitalization Initiative to leverage progressive development codes and recent investments in the Watkins Glen International race track to create a sustainable environment for a year-round economy.
Watkins Glen 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 Watkins Glen 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 Watkins Glen Strategic Investment Plan, as well as the plans developed by the other nine DRI winners, 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 DRI's second round will be complete in early 2018.