On June 17, 2021, New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado announced approval of the Village of Union Springs’ Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), which providing a step-by-step process by which the Village will advance waterfront planning from vision to implementation.
This focus on program and process is very positive, since most communities find themselves stymied by “Perpetual Planning Syndrome”. Plans are just documents: they don’t DO anything, and are too often seen as ends in themselves.
The other factor that undermines success is focusing exclusively on projects while ignoring the need for an ongoing program. Revitalization seldom emerges from stop-start efforts: an ongoing program is needed to capture momentum, momentum is needed to increase confidence in the local future, and that confidence is needed to attract residents, investors and employers (or at least to halt their exodus).
To reliably produce anything, one needs a process. And for communities, a strategic renewal process is what’s essential to reliably produce revitalization.
Village of Union Springs Mayor Bud Shattuck said, “I greet this final acceptance with much appreciation to the NYS Department of State for the opportunity to implement our Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Their staff was more than helpful and extremely courteous throughout the process. Over the last 3 years of meetings and site visits, the Village of Union Springs has worked with Cayuga County Planning (Kari Terwilliger, AICP) in creating a plan to foster our responsibilities to Cayuga Lake and to our residents. Through associated grants, and with our community protection, enhancement and development in mind, we have been able to successfully expand our boat launch, coordinate our Main Street plan and further our vision and goals.”
Union Spring’s LWRP was prepared with the Department of State and supported by $58,000 in grant funding from the Environmental Protection Fund (EPF).
The LWRP approval will give way for the village to advance 52 waterfront projects that are planned to revitalize abandoned, deteriorated and underutilized sites; improve pedestrian access to the waterfront; encourage development of hospitality services for boating tourists; protect scenic quality and enhance visual access to the waterfront; and improve water quality.
The LWRP guidance and resources will help Union Springs capitalize on the social and financial resources available to achieve this vision that includes economic, environmental, historical, cultural contributions the new enhanced waterfront will bring.
Rossana Rosado said, “Congratulations to the Village of Union Springs for completing its Local Waterfront Revitalization Program. Union Springs established a unique waterfront vision that seeks to enhance the quality of life for visitors and residents, promote stewardship of Cayuga Lake, and encourage a spirit of entrepreneurship. We look forward to continuing our productive partnership with the village on public access improvements to Frontenac Park and along the Historic Business District.”
Throughout the development of the LWRP, input was gathered from a broad waterfront advisory committee comprising representatives from the Village of Union Springs, Town of Springport, Cayuga County Department of Planning & Economic Development, local organizations, and interested citizens.
Public participation was paramount, with twelve waterfront advisory committee meetings, five public informational meetings, a community survey, and meetings with local stakeholders. These meetings were used to gain important feedback from residents on waterfront priorities, issues and specific project ideas. The Village of Union Springs LWRP was adopted by the Village Board of Trustees on September 16, 2020.
Cayuga County Legislative representative of Union Springs and member of the LWRP advisory committee Keith Batman said, “The development of this plan has been a focused and sustained effort and its approval is a critical piece in the revitalization of the Village and surrounding community. Kudos to Mayor Shattuck and the Village Board for their hard work and vision.”
The Department of State’s LWRP, funded under Title 11 of the EPF, provides matching grants on a competitive basis to eligible villages, towns, cities and counties located along New York’s coasts or designated inland waterways for planning, design and construction projects to revitalize communities and waterfronts.
Cayuga County Department of Planning & Economic Development Director Steve Lynch stated, “Cayuga County applauds Union Springs for taking on this planning effort and working together to develop a vision and actionable program to revitalize their community, which has already resulted in several awarded grants for transformative projects. I am proud of the work conducted by staff in our Planning Department to assist the community with developing and adopting this LWRP.”
The DOS Office of Planning, Development and Community Infrastructure works in partnership with waterfront communities across the State through the LWFP focusing on protecting natural and cultural resources, expanding public access opportunities and strengthening the local economy. This program helps communities breathe new life into their underused waterfront assets in ways that ensure successful and sustainable revitalization.
Photo courtesy of Village of Union Springs / Bill Hecht.