Winning Projects for Downtown Revitalization Announced

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Posted: Tuesday, July 11, 2017 7:53 pm | Updated: 9:51 am, Wed Jul 12, 2017.

ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the winning projects selected for the city of Oswego in Central New York as part of the state’s $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The DRI aims to transform local neighborhoods across the state into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise a family. Working together with state agencies and the Regional Economic Development Council, the city of Oswego has built a strategic investment plan that identifies catalytic downtown projects consistent with the initiative’s goals.

"This funding is more than an investment in Oswego, it’s an investment in the future of the entire region," said Governor Cuomo. "These investments will help make this downtown an economic engine that will support local businesses, foster growth, and have ripple effects that will keep Central New York rising for decades to come."

"The projects that will move forward as part of Oswego’s DRI plan build on the city’s existing strengths like the Children’s Museum, Midtown Plaza, the historic Cahill Building and its wonderful waterfront to create new residential, retail and tourism opportunities,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, Chair of the statewide REDCs, during this announcement. “Downtowns are epicenters of economic activity that can drive development and growth across entire regions, and Oswego is positioned to be that catalyst for the $500 million Central NY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative vision.”

The 12 winning projects are:

  • Complete Streets Streetscape Make-over on West Bridge Street: Transform an uninviting section of West Bridge Street at a critical downtown intersection into a pedestrian- and bike-friendly streetscape through Complete Streets streetscape features such as sidewalks that are ADA-compliant; cross-walks and sidewalk bump-outs; street striping; and green infrastructure. This project anchors and supports an important cluster of surrounding DRI projects, and provides a safe, attractive and appealing connection between upper downtown and the waterfront area. This project builds on two other investments from the Governor, a recent $500,000 grant from NYS DOT’s Transportation Alternatives Program to make sidewalks ADA-compliant along this corridor; and another previous DOT grant for complete streets improvements along another section of the Rt. 104 corridor.
  • West First Street Multi-Building Redevelopment: Create a multi-building, mixed-use commercial and residential project to replace existing buildings and a vacant lot on West First Street. Up to 40 new housing units will be created downtown, which will generate more 24/7 downtown activity, improve visual aesthetics and support nearby businesses. A collaborative multi-owner partnership was created to develop these buildings as one unified project.
  • Harbor View Square Mixed-Use Development: Transform an underutilized industrial brownfield site on the waterfront in downtown Oswego into a mixed-use residential and commercial development that will provide 75 units of new housing and 8,000 sq. ft. of ground floor retail and commercial space along the West First Street corridor. The new development will provide much-needed housing options to the downtown and will activate the blocks between the heart of downtown and Lake Ontario, better connecting downtown to the lakefront a creating a more vibrant pedestrian environment.
  • Transform the Aging Midtown Plaza: Create an attractive, mixed-use gateway development on the east side of the Oswego River with 45,000 sq. ft. of commercial space and 95 housing units. The existing structures on the site, which have long been an eyesore for the downtown, will be demolished and a new attractive anchor development will take their place as an anchor and catalyst for additional investment and growth on the east side of the Oswego River.
  • Restore the Historic Buckhout-Jones Building: Stabilize and restore the façade of the historic Buckhout-Jones building located in the center of downtown. The building, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, houses the Children’s Museum of Oswego, and is a centerpiece in downtown Oswego. Renovations will improve the appearance of the building and ensure that it continues to exist intact into the future.
  • Transform the Historic Cahill Building into Upscale Housing Along the River: Provide riverfront dining, build six housing units in a historic building and build six new townhomes on the same site to create additional housing choices. The Cahill building is the oldest structure in Oswego, serving as a strong symbol of both the City’s past and its new future with the DRI funds. It was recently saved from the wrecking ball and stabilized by a local developer to make the project possible.
  • Create a Pocket Park on Market Street: Create a pocket park on city property in a key central downtown location, adjacent to a cluster of DRI projects surrounding the site. Design a flexible, creative small public space for community gatherings and public events space, which will provide a much-needed connection between W. First Street to Water Street.
  • Create an Indoor Water Park as a New Downtown Destination: Construct the new indoor Lake Ontario Water Park to attract visitors and create a four-season family destination downtown, linked to an existing hotel and event/conference center near the waterfront. The facility will build on existing anchor developments and attractions in the downtown to strengthen the appeal as a family destination.
  • Renovate the Children’s Museum of Oswego: Renovate space and install hands-on educational and cultural exhibits for the Children’s Museum of Oswego, located on the ground floor of the historic Buckout-Jones Building. The museum upgrades will enhance the ability of this local attraction to bring visitors to downtown Oswego.
  • Complete the Downtown West Gateway Project: Redevelop a single-story structure on the corner of W. First Street and W. Bridge Street into a two-story mixed use building that will activate this key intersection in the core of the downtown. The completely renovated building will provide high quality ground floor retail space and will include a vertical addition to add 12 upper story residential units and a roof-top deck with views of the Oswego River that will be used as outdoor restaurant dining. Parking will be provided for residents in the building’s basement.
  • Support Local Business Growth, Building Renovation and Outdoor Programming: Establish a revolving loan for private improvements to commercial interiors; a combined grant/loan fund for façade improvements; matching grants for renovating upper floors for housing; and a matching grant program for outdoor programming in the downtown. This investment will encourage additional investment in existing downtown buildings and support active programming to attract more visitors.
  • Improve the River Walk: Construct improvements to the riverfront trail network to provide better connections to the downtown and offer more user amenities. Upgrades will include new fencing, landscaping, lighting, seating, and signage as well as new access points and signage. These improvements will encourage greater use of the trail and increase its ability to attract and retain visitors to the downtown.

With assets that include a scenic waterfront location, compact and walkable downtown, rich cultural history and anchor institutions such as SUNY Oswego, Oswego Health and the Port of Oswego Authority, Oswego is well-positioned for a transformation into a regionally competitive area while maintaining its small town charm. Under the DRI, Oswego will focus on catalytic projects in the downtown that will leverage significant private investment and provide new housing opportunities, mixed-use development, a business incubator, commercial/retail development and community services.

SOURCE: Office of Governor Andrew Cuomo

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