Guess which state just made $200 million available to revitalize historic downtowns? Each winning community gets $10 million.

On July 27, 2021, that state of New York announced that $200 million is now available for the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

DRI Round 5 will provide these funds to communities across the 10 Regional Economic Development Council regions to bring new life to their downtowns through a comprehensive strategic planning process, followed by the implementation of key projects. The fifth round is being launched as New York State rebuilds its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vibrant downtowns and Main Streets are vital for every community across New York to thrive,” said Governor Kathy Hochul, chair of the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils. “As we launch the fifth round of our Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we will continue to promote smart growth strategies that advance transit-oriented development, spur economic and cultural investment, and give small businesses a much-needed boost.”

As part of DRI Round 5, each REDC region may receive up to two awards for a total of $20 million awarded per region.

NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “We have seen firsthand the transformative impact the Governor’s $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative has had on communities across the state. These targeted investments are bringing visitors, residents and businesses back to our downtowns, creating jobs, expanding affordable housing opportunities and building more equitable neighborhoods. We look forward to working together with our sister agencies on the fifth round of this game-changing initiative.

The REDCs will decide whether to nominate two $10 million awardees or one $20 million awardee for transformative and catalytic downtown redevelopment projects upon review of the submitted applications.

Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The DRI is back and better than ever with this increased financial commitment to provide social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits to even more communities. Investing in our downtowns yields New York’s downtowns are experiencing a renaissance of revitalization, and the DRI will continue to play an even greater role in supporting and strengthening the economic resilience of downtowns across the region.

As is the case with past DRI rounds, each selected community will develop a strategic plan that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have the potential to transform the downtown. DRI funds will then be awarded for selected projects that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community’s vision for the downtown.

Empire State Development Chief Operating Officer and Executive Deputy Commissioner Kevin Younis said, “This fifth round of DRI funding demonstrates ESD’s continued commitment to boost local economies through smart, strategic investments in downtowns across New York. Our targeted support of community-generated projects has been a force multiplier, encouraging new investment and revitalizing neighborhoods into vibrant places where people want to live, work and play.

About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative

In 2016, former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo launched a major new initiative—the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Through this initiative, the Governor moved to aggressively accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment in all 10 regions of the state. The initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation.

In the first four years of the program, the state has committed $400 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity. Participating communities are nominated by the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown’s potential for transformation. Each community is awarded at least $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects to advance the community’s vision for revitalization.

We’re marking the Downtown Revitalization Initiative’s fifth year by doubling down on our commitment to help reimagine communities across the state, especially as we prepare for a post-pandemic future,” former Governor Cuomo said. “The DRI is a cornerstone of New York’s comprehensive economic development strategy to drive investment and job creation in downtowns across the state. Our investments will support new and existing businesses, drive new mixed-use developments and bolster the arts and cultural venues to help attract residents and visitors for years to come.

The initiative is headed by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development and New York State Homes and Community Renewal.

All applications should be submitted with a $10 million award in mind but may indicate that they would also like to be considered for a $20 million award. Applicants that indicate interest in being considered for a $20 million award must respond to supplemental application questions in which they describe and confirm specific transformative or catalytic DRI projects and demonstrate the readiness of those projects and local capacity to manage the full $20 million in DRI funds. More information about both of these programs is available on the DRI website.

Applications for DRI Round 5 should be submitted to the appropriate Regional Economic Development Council by September 15, 2021.

Rendering of Middletown, New York downtown (a previous DRI winner) courtesy of New York State Governor’s office.

Learn more, or apply for funding, here on the DRI website.

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