On April 19, 2019, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the FY 2020 Enacted Budget includes $100 million for the fourth round of the transformative Downtown Revitalization Initiative. This successful initiative will support 10 additional downtown neighborhoods, one in each region of the state, boosting local economies and fostering vibrant neighborhoods that offer a higher quality of life.
The Governor’s $100 million DRI is a comprehensive, multi-agency approach to transform vulnerable, vacant or forgotten areas of the state into livable, walkable, dynamic neighborhoods.
As in the previous three iterations, one community in each of the ten Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) zones will be selected by the REDC to receive a $10 million investment following an application process and thorough evaluation of each downtown’s potential for transformation.
Regional Councils will weigh seven criteria to select nominees:
- The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
- 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.
Once a community is selected by the REDC, a Local Planning Committee (LPC), comprising local leaders, stakeholders and key government officials is established to oversee the development of a strategic plan for downtown revitalization. The committees’ work is supported by experts from the New York State Department of State and New York State Homes and Community Renewal.
DRI funds will be used to implement projects recommended by the LPCs and should reinforce and secure additional public and private investments within and near downtown neighborhoods to build upon growth spurred by the Regional Councils.
Featured photo (by JBC3, via Wikipedia) shows Centennial Circle, a five-leg roundabout in downtown Glens Falls, New York (one of the previous DRI winners).
Applications for the fourth round are due by 4 p.m. on May 31, 2019.