Governor Hochul Announces 30 Transformational Projects in Southern Tier Communities as Part of Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward Programs (2024)

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced a total of 30 transformational projects for the Southern Tier region as part of two economic development programs: the Downtown Revitalization Initiative(DRI) and NY Forward.Fifteen projects were announced for the Village of Johnson City, the Round 6 winner of a $10 million DRI award; six projects were announced for the Village Montour Falls, a Round 1 winner of a $4.5 million NY Forward award; and nine projects were announced for the Village of Waverly, also a Round 1 winner of a $4.5 million NY Forward award.

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward programs provide vital support for New York’s downtowns,” Governor Hochul said. “This funding for the Southern Tier will help communities carry out their plans to enhance the quality of life for New Yorkers, draw visitors, and spur economic opportunity in their downtowns, helping the next generation of New Yorkers thrive."

Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI)

Johnson City was namedthe Southern Tier’swinner of the sixth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative in 2023.The 15 projects selected seek to preserve and restore historic assets, create new housing opportunities for residents, and continue to develop the unique sense of place in downtown Johnson City.

New investment combined with past investments will create a robust environment for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of historic downtown buildings and infill development that incorporates mixed-income residential opportunities.

The DRI investments are part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the economy and create more opportunities in the Southern Tier. The DRI is led by the Department of State, which provides technical assistance as each participating community develops a Strategic Investment Plan identifying specific projects with a unique vision for the revitalization of the downtown area. 

The specific projects to be funded through the DRI support several goals and strategies contained in the community’s Strategic Investment Plan, such as amplifying the city's unique sense of place with a genuine and authentic experience that will be catalytic for future organic growth and will foster development that is inclusive while embracing its strong heritage and ethnic diversity.

Johnson City joins the communities of Elmira, Watkins Glen, Owego, Hornell, Endicott, and Norwich, which were the Southern Tier’s previous winners of the DRIprogram.

The $9.7 million State investment in these projects through the DRI will leverage additional public and private investments as the revitalization process proceeds and builds momentum.

The15 DRI projects, totaling $9.7 million, include:

  • Construct a New Mixed-income Apartment Building at 333 Grand Avenue ($1,000,000)
  • Construction of a new building with 72 affordable apartments along with a children’s daycare center.
  • Fund Small Projects ($500,000)
  • The Village will establish a building renovation program to provide matching grants to individual downtown buildings to upgrade facades, install new signage, and undertake interior renovations.
  • Enhance Parks and Public Spaces ($1,215,000)
  • Public parks and open space improvements including art installations in Jenison Park, street art, wayfinding, and the completion of the EJ Theme Park.
  • Enhance Downtown Streets and Gateways ($2,561,000)
  • Improve streetscape and pedestrian-friendliness of Main Street, Arch Street, Broad Street, Corliss Avenue, Avenues B and C, and Willow Street.
  • Transform Former High School on Main Street into Mixed-use Facility ($1,150,000)
  • Conversion of 70,000 square feet of an existing historic high school into 62 apartments with future commercial uses.
  • Rehabilitate Mixed-use Building at 214 Main Street ($450,000)
  • Renovation of a 7,200-square-foot, two-story mixed-use building.
  • Transform Willbrow Alley into a Pedestrian Public Place ($652,000)
  • Redesign of Willbrow Alley to create a vibrant public space downtown to include new lighting, pavers, landscaping, and public art.
  • Update Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network of South Central New York, Inc. at 346 Grand Avenue ($142,000)
  • Replacement of existing HVAC system at 346 Grand Avenue to complete renovations to existing facility.
  • Redevelop Mixed-use Building at 15 Ave B ($250,000)
  • Renovation of an existing historic structure to include six apartments as well as commercial elements.
  • Revitalize the Helping Celebrate Abilities (HCA) Non-profit Facility ($750,000)
  • Revitalization of the Helping Celebrate Abilities Building including a new roof, a new playground surface, a new parking surface, plumbing reconstruction, correction of stormwater drainage, as well as improvements to the facade of the building.
  • Revitalize Business Facility at 240 Main Street ($150,000)
  • Renovation of over 13,000 square feet including storefront, signage, roof and drainage, stair, and other interior upgrades to improve operations and patron experience.
  • Expand Existing Brewery Facilities at 135 Baldwin ($300,000)
  • Brewery expansion for increased production, community gathering, and performance spaces.
  • Rehabilitate Mixed-use Building at 254 Main Street ($100,000)
  • Exterior and interior renovations to an existing mixed-use Main Street building.
  • Revitalize IBEW Non-profit Offices at 271 Main Street ($105,000)
  • Renovation of existing structure used by IBEW Local 10 to include a new storefront, signage, lighting, windows, doors, and exterior siding.
  • Redevelop Mixed-use Building at 20 Willow Street ($375,000)
  • Renovations and improvements of exterior and interior to develop a variety of office spaces for local businesses.

NY Forward

Building on the momentum of the State's successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), the $100 million NY Forward program adopts the same "Plan-then-Act" strategy as the DRI to support a more equitable downtown recovery for New York's smaller and rural communities. NY Forward investments are part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the economy and create more opportunities in the Southern Tier.

The 9Waverly NY Forward Projects, totaling $4.5 Million, include:

  • Enhance Walkability and Comfort on Broad Street through Streetscape Improvements ($960,000)
  • Provide physical streetscape improvements on Broad Street including but not limited to enhanced crosswalks, new sidewalks, pedestrian-level streetlighting with arms to hang flags or planters, curb bumpouts, signage, landscaping, street trees, benches and enhanced parking and open space.
  • Renovate East Waverly Park ($1,196,000)
  • Create a family and youth focused recreation facility with new pickle ball courts, a splash pad, walking trails, fishing holes, softball field, basketball court, playground, new parking area, and rehab of existing restroom and kitchen.
  • Establish Waverly Waterfront Access and Trails ($795,000)
  • Create a new park on land bordered by the Chemung River that will encourage paddling, boating, fishing, hiking, and passive recreation in the Village of Waverly.
  • Renovate Soprano’s Market and Build an Outdoor Seating Area ($420,000)
  • Upgrade the established Soprano's Market with a new outdoor patio, additional site lighting, new siding and insulation, roof replacement, and rehabilitation of the parking lot.
  • Upgrade Historic Building and Create Upper-Level Housing Above an Established Sports Bar ($156,000)
  • Build new fully furnished apartments on the vacant upper floors of a historic building on Broad St that also houses an established sports bar and create an outdoor deck in the rear of the building to be used by residents.
  • Convert a Victorian Home into a Multiuse Residential and Commercial Space ($300,000)
  • Complete the final phases of a conversion of an historic Victorian home and neighboring vacant lot into a mixed use building with commercial space, upper floor apartment, and green space for outdoor gatherings.
  • Construct a Multiuse Commercial Building in Downtown Waverly ($317,000)
  • Construct a new mixed-use commercial space on Cayuta Ave to house a café, offices, retail shop, and rentable conference room.
  • Improve Fitness Center on Broad Street ($156,000)
  • Raise the interior ceiling at an established fitness center on Broad Street to allow for better air circulation in gym and other improvements including new glass doors and windows and new drainage onsite to prevent ice caused by flooding onsite.
  • Develop a Small Project Fund to Help Local Businesses ($200,000)
  • Implement a grant fund for small projects in the NY Forward boundary that will support building renovations, facades, interior build outs, permanent equipment, awnings, and signage.

The 6Montour Falls NY Forward Projects, totaling $4.5 Million, include:

  • Enhance Walkability and Comfort on Main Street through Streetscape Improvements ($971,000)
  • Improve walkability and pedestrian comfort along Main Street with enhanced crosswalks, ADA-compliant curb ramps, curb bump-outs and sidewalk extensions, street trees, green infrastructure, benches, signage, public art installations, and gateway arches.
  • Build Townhomes on Vacant Lot in Downtown Montour Falls ($916,000)
  • Construct new townhomes on a vacant plot of land on N Genesee Street. These townhomes will be long-term rentals in the heart of downtown Montour Falls.
  • Build a New Dental Office and Apartments on Catharine Street ($685,000)
  • Construct a new building on vacant property that will house an established dental practice, space for a commercial business, and new long-term apartments on Catharine Street. The building will include room to expand the dental practice.
  • Preserve the Historic Brick Tavern Museum and Incorporate Accessibility Improvements ($792,000)
  • Preserve the historic Brick Tavern Museum through interior and exterior improvements and a building extension to provide a space that is amenable to preserving the museum collection and that will ensure accessibility for all visitors.
  • Develop a Small Project Fund to Help Local Businesses ($200,000)
  • Implement a grant fund for small projects in the NY Forward boundary that will support building renovations, facades, interior build outs, permanent equipment, awnings, and signage.
  • Improve Street Lighting on N Catharine Street ($936,000)
  • Upgrade existing street lighting on Catharine Street to include infill pedestrian-level lighting to create a more comfortable environment for pedestrians at night.

Acting New York Secretary of State Brendan C. Hughes said,“These 30 projects, focusing on factors like walkability, additional housing, enhanced streetscapes and transforming old buildings into vibrant mixed-use establishments, are the perfect combination for revitalizing any downtown. Congratulations to our Southern Tier communities on coming together and planning out a vision for the future. The Department of State looks forward to working with you and we thank Governor Kathy Hochul for her continued support of these two programs.”

Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, "These dynamic, community-led Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward investments will further fuel the economic engines needed to support local businesses and foster economic growth. The transformational and inclusive plans will infuse new life into the Johnson City, Montour Falls and Waverly communities, creating dynamic spaces and places that will benefit both current and future generations of residents."

HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said,"Today's investments in Johnson City, Montour Falls, and Waverly continue the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward's history of having a transformative impact on communities across New York. By investing in these 30projects, which include creating 140 new apartments in Johnson City, we will increase housing supply, improve walkability, and enhance community attractions in all three communities. Thank you to Governor Hochul for her continued commitment to targeted investments that create opportunities across New York."

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair,Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development (SCOPED), Judy McKinney-Cherry said, “The STREDC is incredibly proud to continue our support for Johnson City, Montour Falls and Waverly and their promising futures thanks to the Governor's Downtown Revitalization and NY Forward Initiatives. These targeted, community-driven projects will benefit both residents and visitors alike, promoting economic growth and creating more vibrant downtowns where people will want to live, work, and play for generations to come.”

Assemblymember Donna Lupardo said, “The DRI and NY Forward initiatives provide resources that are often lacking for our downtowns. As a member of the Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council, I know first hand the good that has come from investments like these around the region. I’m pleased to see the DRI plans that were announced for the Village of Johnson City today. This long anticipated work will complement developments that have already occurred nearby, from the restored Victory Building to Binghamton University's Health and Sciences Campus and UHS’s new Wilson Tower. I’d like to thank everyone who played a role in helping Johnson City reimagine its downtown."

Assemblymember Christopher Friend said, “I am delighted to extend my heartfelt congratulations to Waverly on receiving NY Forward funding. This significant achievement reflects the hard work and dedication of our community members, local leaders, and supporters. The funding will not only bolster our local economy by making it easier for businesses to thrive but also enrich the quality of life for all residents by providing beautifully upgraded parks and maintain historical charm. I am confident that these improvements will have a lasting positive impact on the community. Thank you to everyone who has contributed to making this possible. Together, we are building a stronger, more vibrant community.”

Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, “Much of the growth that Broome County has seen over the past few years has happened in Johnson City, and the exciting projects announced today for their Downtown Revitalization Initiative will make Johnson City an even better place for families to live, work, and play. Thank you to Governor Hochul, Senator Webb, and Assemblywoman Lupardo for delivering the critical funding needed to make these projects happen right in the heart of Broome County.”

Village of Johnson City Mayor Martin Meaney said, “I want to thank Governor Hochul for the continued funding of this very important and vital program. We are excited and can’t wait to see the transformation of our downtown now that the DRI projects have been awarded. Johnson City has been experiencing a period of growth and renewal and theses needed funds will allow this growth and revitalization to continue. We know that many of these transformative projects were just concepts and dreams that will now become a reality thanks to the DRI.”

Village of Montour Falls Mayor James Ryan said, “These transformative projects approved by the Local Project Committee and our state partners will now advance to the project sponsors implementing their economic investment into our community, building for the next generation.”

Village of Waverly Mayor Andrew Aronstam said, “Waverly is extremely excited and grateful for the generous support we received from NYS in the form of $4.5 million dollars. This money will be used for both public and private projects that will greatly improve the infrastructure and business opportunities in Waverly. The nine projects represent a true collaboration between state and local government. Our sincere thanks go out to Gov. Hochul for this demonstration of her support for small town New York.”

About the Downtown Revitalization Initiativeand NY Forward

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) and NY Forward are cornerstones of the state’s economic development policy. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative was created in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of the state to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment.NY Forward was created in 2022 to revitalize smaller and rural communities throughout the state so that all communities can benefit from the state’s revitalization efforts, regardless of size, character, needs and challenges. Led by the Department of State—with assistance from Empire State Development, Homes and Community Renewal, andthe New York State Energy Research and Development Authority—the DRIand NY Forward represent an unprecedented and innovative "plan-then-act" strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation.Both programs are creating a critical mass of vibrant downtowns in every region of the state that is enhancing economic development, promoting quality of life, fostering socio-economic development, and achieving the state’s bold climate goals.

In the first seven rounds of the DRI, the state has committed $800 million, investing in 81 downtowns ripe for revitalization that have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity and opportunity. In the first two rounds of NY Forward, the state has committed $200 million, investing in 43 smaller and rural downtowns.

With the Governor’s commitment this year of an additional $100 million each for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward, the State has now invested a combined total of $1.2 billion in both programs since their inception, serving 124 communities combined.

Governor Hochul Announces 30 Transformational Projects in Southern Tier Communities as Part of Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward Programs (2024)
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