Two small cities share $20 million to revitalize their historic downtowns with 20 adaptive reuse and streetscape projects

On November 28, 2022, 20 transformational projects designed to help revitalize two historic downtowns in the state of New York were announced.

The cities of Gloversville and Little Falls each received $10 million from the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative to support the projects.


Twelve transformational projects in the City of Gloversville were funded. The $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will enhance public amenities and greenspace, expand housing opportunities, and support both new and existing small businesses.

Mayor of Gloversville Vincent DeSantis said, “This is one of the most exciting moments in Gloversville history. Thanks to Governor Hochul and Secretary of State Rodriguez, and the well targeted funding opportunities provided by the State of New York. We are now in a position to build a new city, a transformation from a 19th century industrial city to a thriving 21st century community.

Gloversville’s downtown is distinguished by its unique character, historic architecture, renowned arts and cultural assets, parks and greenspace, and rich sense of community. Recent investments within and around Gloversville’s compact, walkable downtown have made the area ripe for revitalization.

We are ushering in a new era for Gloversville, attracting jobs, businesses, and people and making the community a better place to live and work,” Governor Kathy Hochul said.

These investments will create more affordable housing, improve public amenities, and revitalize key businesses in downtown Gloversville, which will improve the quality of life for visitors and residents alike. My administration is committed to creating more livable communities and building a brighter future in Upstate New York,” she added.

These investments are part of the Governor’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities in the Mohawk Valley. Gloversville was named a DRI Round 5 winner in 2021.

New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “The DRI program is driving the renovation and restoration of important downtown resources in every region of the state. These twelve projects in Gloversville are set to put this $10 million investment to work for its residents and to activate its historic downtown with commerce and new visitors. Gloversville is the perfect example of how New York State’s strategic placemaking investments in arts, infrastructure and waterfront access can support economic growth by creating livable and inviting communities.

In addition to awarding grants for catalytic community investments, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, led by the Department of State, provides technical assistance to participating communities as they develop a Strategic Investment Plan and identify projects to revitalize their downtown areas.

Assemblymember Robert Smullen said, “It’s exciting and refreshing to see state resources injected back into the Gloversville community, and I am optimistic that we can build on this momentum to fully revitalize our downtown area and business district. Many of these projects epitomize our region’s rich history and culture, so I am confident that their completion will yield more jobs, tourism, and opportunity for Mohawk Valley residents.

The Little Falls projects funded through the DRI include:

  • Renovating the Historic Glove Theatre – DRI Award $1,994,000
    • The Glove Theater’s 40,000 sq. ft. Complex will be renovated and restored through this project, which includes various interior improvements to enhance safety and comfort.
  • Renovating the Carriage House – DRI Award: $1,360,000
    • The historic Carriage House, vacant for nearly two decades, will be rehabilitated to provide a microbrewery, sports bar, restaurant, as well as several units of housing on the upper floors. In addition to residential space, a portion of the upper floors will be utilized as flex space to function as a banquet space as needed.
  • Constructing Glove City Lofts – DRI Award: $1,250,000
    • Artist housing will be constructed on an existing vacant lot near City Hall through this project. It will offer approximately 75 loft-styled affordable housing units for mixed-income tenants, complete with greenspace and an art gallery managed by the Glove City Arts Alliance.
  • Activating St. Thomas Square for Year-Round Activities – DRI Award: $1,120,000
    • This project will create a strong connection to Main Street by redeveloping an underutilized park including: a new pedestrian and memorial area around Farmers Market Pavilion and an ice-skating area with associated amenities.
  • Revitalizing Daniel Hayes Mill – DRI Award: $1,050,000
    • This project will redevelop a former industrial site, including an historic four-story wood-framed brick structure and multiple single-story masonry buildings, for multi-family residential use that will bring new residents to downtown Gloversville and bring new life to a long-abandoned property.
  • Initiating Downtown Business Improvement Fund – DRI Award: $600,000
    • The Downtown Business Fund will provide small businesses and organizations in the DRI area with the financial support needed to bridge the funding gap for expansion and improvement projects. The city will award grants based on a competitive application, review process and match requirement.
  • Enhancing Public Amenities at Trail Station Park – DRI Award: $495,000
    • The second phase of a planned expansion at Trail Station Park will begin, replacing a large section of asphalt with amenities such as a splash pad, restroom, pavilion, and a changing area, as well as trees, picnic areas, trails, and greenspace.
  • Improving Streetscapes and Connectivity – DRI Award: $441,000
    • This project will create a more welcoming environment for visitors and residents by providing improved sidewalks, street trees for shade, and pedestrian lighting at key locations in the downtown.
  • Creating a Downtown Piazza – DRI Award: $435,000
    • This project will transform this centrally located completely vacant property into an urban plaza/public gathering place for public concerts and performances, weekly outdoor movie nights, and an urban park atmosphere. Space will be provided for food trucks and stalls for local restaurants. Green infrastructure will be incorporated to allow stormwater infiltration.
  • Transforming a Vacant Building into a Microbrewery – DRI Award: $359,000
    • A vacant former garage building will be repurposed into the headquarters for Glove City Brewing, with a microbrewery, kitchen restrooms, and an outdoor biergarten.
  • Renovating Schine Memorial Hall, Third Floor – DRI Award: $346,000
    • The third floor of Schine Memorial Hall, a prominent, three-story building that has been a downtown landmark since its construction in 1881, will be renovated to create an attractive space for the relocation of the Storto Glove Museum and coworking space for artists.
  • Reviving Former City Hall – DRI Award: $250,000
    • The ground floor of the former City Hall building will be renovated for the addition of a restaurant and bakery in the vacant space of the mixed-used building.

Gloversville developed a strategic investment plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million grant. A local planning committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners.

The strategic investment plan for this area in Gloversville examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.

Little Falls

Eight transformational projects in the City of Little Falls are using the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award to enhance the community’s walkability, and rehabilitate their rich historic, cultural and natural resources.

New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “The Little Falls community will benefit from these eight projects and build upon recent investments that connect the community to the waterfront along the Erie Canal. This $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will go a long way toward increasing opportunities for residents, businesses and visitors to Little Falls. The Department of State looks forward to working with the city to bring its vision to life.

The Little Falls Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will help to create a more unified downtown to improve walkability and bikeability for residents and to catalyze additional investment along Main Street and within Canal Place.

State Senator Peter Oberacker said, “Little Falls won New York State DRI funding thanks to a plan that exhibited a compelling vision for economic development and community growth. These projects, conceived by local stakeholders, will highlight the city’s history while building for a successful future that will benefit Little Falls and the entire Mohawk Valley region.

Through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the City is transforming the downtown experience by allowing a more natural flow for vehicular traffic, establishing a small business assistance fund, and replacing the Main Street Canopy to make walking, shopping, and dining downtown even more enjoyable year-round.

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative provides cities with an opportunity for smart growth that benefits an entire community and Little Falls is no exception. Their strategic plan capitalizes on its waterfront assets, broadens housing choices, increases opportunities for small businesses, removes barriers to employment for families in need of childcare and creates a more walkable, bikeable downtown that is well positioned for future success.

The Little falls projects funded through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative include:

  • Creating Affordable Senior Housing – DRI Award: $2,500,000
    • Renovation of the M&T building will create senior housing, amenities for the residents, and commercial space, while maintaining the existing bank.
  • Enhancing Connectivity of Seeley Street – DRI Award: $1,800,000
    • Transform Seeley Street into a bicycle and pedestrian waterfront walkway by repaving the existing roadway and installing lighting and guide rails. This will connect Canal Place to Moss Island and the historic Lock 17.
  • Modernizing and Replacing the Iconic Main Street Canopy – DRI Award: $1,670,000
    • Redesign and modernize the iconic Main Street Canopy while retaining and preserving its historic character. Creating continuity of the canopy will benefit all businesses and visitors.
  • Improving Main Street Streetscape – DRI Award: $1,600,000
    • Improve the streetscape along the length of Main Street by including a separated two-way bike lane from Albany to Ann Street, green infrastructure between Ann and School Street, and repaving of the entire corridor.
  • Renovating Vacant Facility and Expand Public Access to Waterfront – DRI Award $640,000
    • Renovating a former hydroelectric facility into a vibrant space with offices for STEAM anchor tenants, a multipurpose community space, and a hub for film and movie production.
  • Establishing a Downtown Little Falls Fund to Support Small Business Development – DRI Award $600,000
    • Support smaller scale projects through the Downtown Little Falls Grant Fund such as façade improvements, signage, lighting, murals, and energy efficiency upgrades.
  • Enhancing Community Access and Use of the Little Falls Library – DRI Award $500,000
    • Increase accessibility of the Little Falls library with a new elevator shaft and elevator and transform its underutilized third floor into community spaces for counseling, GED prep, tutoring.
  • Increasing High-Quality Childcare and Community Services – DRI Award $390,000
    • Expand the Little Falls Youth & Family Center at its 45 Furnace Street location to increase the capacity of its existing childcare facility and redevelop the 524 E. Main Street location to accommodate an emergency childcare facility.

Little Falls Mayor Mark Blask said, “Beyond grateful to Governor Hochul and Secretary of State Rodriguez. As the second smallest city in the state we appreciate Governor Hochul always looking out for the smaller communities. We look forward to improving the downtown district and making Little Falls an even more vibrant area to live and visit.

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we are supporting community-driven projects that boost our local economies and make a real impact on the everyday lives of New Yorkers. Today’s awards in Little Falls will create new affordable homes for seniors, transform Main Street into a more walkable and attractive corridor for visitors, upgrade public services for residents, and ultimately help the city grow and succeed as a cultural destination.

Assemblymember Brian Miller said, “The eight key projects that the City of Little Falls will undertake as part of their $10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Award is positive news not only for the City of Little Falls and its residents, but the entire Mohawk Valley region. The continued revitalization of Little Falls is critical to the economic success of the area. Little Falls has much to offer with unlimited potential to capitalize on its natural waterfront resources and rich cultural heritage. The key projects to be completed will unify downtown, spur additional investments business and otherwise on Main Street and Canal Place, as well as improve the quality of life in the city. I commend the City for its continued efforts to revitalize, strengthen and develop a vibrant sustainable downtown community through use of the DRI Award. The city’s exemplary projects are a testament of how DRI Awards can benefit communities and transform neighborhoods.

Historic 1920’s postcard of downtown Gloversville by unknown.

See Downtown Revitalization Initiative website.

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