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Mayor Billy Barlow Outlines City’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Proposal

Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed in his State budget $100 million in state grants for revitalizing downtowns through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which will be allocated across the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Council (REDC).  The City of Oswego is competing for the $10 million allocation for the Central New York REDC.  “It is my pleasure to announce that the City of Oswego successfully submitted its proposal to be considered for the Downtown Revitalization funding and we hope to take full advantage of this extraordinary opportunity provided by Governor Andrew Cuomo," said Mayor Billy Barlow.  The New York Department of State Office of Planning & Development created the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Application Template in which CNY REDC utilized, and specifically asked municipalities to define a boundary, which could be a neighborhood, a district, or an entire downtown, and demonstrate that it has attractive features, potential for job growth, and would serve a “sizeable,” diverse population within “easy reach” of the area.  Some of the criteria that the REDC is looking at in a strong application is private and public investment that the state grant can leverage.  

Mayor Barlow applauded Community Development Director Justin Rudgick, Planning and Zoning Director Amy Birdsall and City Attorney Kevin Caraccioli for spearheading the City's application efforts, along with the Downtown Revitalization Committee members he appointed early last month. "We all worked together extremely hard to present a multi-faceted, realistic and ambitious plan highlighting the momentum we already have in the City of Oswego. The City of Oswego’s DRI proposal addresses all of the key components of the guidelines and is carrying the message that Oswego is “Building on Momentum.”  The investments made in the City in the past, as well as ongoing efforts are positively changing the community including Downtown Oswego and near-downtown neighborhoods block-by-block and building-by-building.  In doing so, Oswego is building on the momentum of future investment potential with our collective impact partners, and seeking to invest in a strong fabric of resources for the city to transform into a thriving place of opportunity.  The City is poised to build upon the momentum of substantial recent investments by the private and public sector through collaboration with SUNY Oswego, Oswego County, Pathfinder Bank, the Port of Oswego Authority, Broadwell Hospitality Group, Oswego Health, the County of Oswego IDA, Operation Oswego County, Inc., the Oswego Renaissance Association, and many more significant contributors that will further leverage the Downtown Revitalization Initiative award to catalyze pivotal economic vitality and strengthen Oswego’s urban core – it’s downtown – by attracting more residents and businesses, stimulating arts & culture, and instilling pride and confidence within the community resulting in benefits not only to the downtown area but across the city."

Building on the momentum of substantial recent investments, the City has preliminarily identified 6 potential key anchor projects specifically in downtown Oswego that are ripe for development which would result in an estimated nearly $50 million of additional direct private sector investment, and provide the opportunity to create and retain approximately 200 jobs.  These potential projects have the opportunity to provide construction of new market-rate and upscale rental units, mixed-income housing development, mixed-use development, restaurant expansion, commercial/retail space, the retention of human service organizations in downtown, provide learning enrichment opportunities through the support of the Children’s Museum of Oswego, and establish a business incubator center with the County IDA.  These preliminarily identified potential anchor projects have the ability to provide an estimated 9:1 ratio of leveraging private direct capital investment in the downtown area from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding opportunity, which would spur and create additional compound economic gains that will spill over to benefit the City of Oswego, Oswego County, and the Central New York Region.  

"The City of Oswego’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative proposed an estimated allocation of funding to be awarded among 6 key anchor projects and investments for streetscape revitalization, façade improvements and further strengthening near-downtown neighborhoods.   With all of Oswego’s momentum and investment, the foundation has been laid for a successful and sustainable downtown.  However, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to create a polished downtown that will provide the quality of life demanded by a skilled workforce and tourists alike.  The Downtown Revitalization Initiative award would build on that momentum and provide the City of Oswego with the necessary capital to springboard its revitalization efforts into a community that is a welcoming and modern upstate New York attraction," Mayor Billy Barlow continued. 

Proposed 6 key anchor projects:

  • Midtown Plaza Redevelopment – Mixed Use Development Featuring 24 Market Rate Rental Apartments with Commercial/Retail/Office Spaces.
  • Buckhout-Jones Building featuring Children’s Museum of Oswego – Façade Improvement & further development of Children’s Museum of Oswego.
  • Cahill Building Restoration and Development – Mixed Use Development Featuring Market Rate & Upscale Rental Apartments with Restaurant Space.
  • Flexo Wire Site Development – Potential Mixed Income Residential Development with Commercial/Retail Spaces.
  • Oswego Business Incubator Center – Development of World Class Mixed Use Start Up Business Incubator Facility
  • West Pier Landing Waterfront Development – Market Rate Housing Development Featuring Townhouses at 77 W. First St.

The City of Oswego also highlighted another major element of their application, the Route104 Complete Streets project, led by Bergmann Associates, working to beautify Route 104 running through downtown Oswego and create a more live-able, walk-able downtown.  The funding, if awarded, could significantly expedite the phases of work to be done along Route 104, while also encouraging new facade and storefront improvements through downtown Oswego.  Also highlighted in the application was the newly-formed Oswego County Land Bank, the ongoing successful neighborhood revitalization efforts by the Oswego Renaissance Association and the growth and expansions of SUNY Oswego, the Port of Oswego Authority and Oswego Health.

The Downtown Revitalization Committee was appointed by Mayor Barlow and represents a diverse group of stakeholders from our community who all bring specialized expertise to the table so that the City of Oswego can deliver a multi-faceted, thorough, viable and realistic plan on how to best capitalize on this extraordinary opportunity.  The Downtown Revitalization Committee is Co-Chaired by Community Development Director Justin Rudgick and Planning & Zoning Director Amy Birdsall.  Other members selected by Mayor Barlow include:

·        Kevin Caraccioli, City Attorney, City of Oswego

·        L. Michael Treadwell, Executive Director, Operation Oswego County, Inc.

·        Jane Amico, Vice President of Chamber Services, Centerstate CEO

·        Benjamin Walsh, Business Development Director, Mackenzie Hughes

·        Thomas Schneider, President & CEO, Pathfinder Bank

·        Zelko Kirincich, Executive Director & CEO, Port of Oswego Authority

·        Pamela Caraccioli, Deputy to the President, SUNY Oswego

·        Paul Stewart, Executive Director, Oswego Renaissance Association

·        Patrick Carroll, Business Manager, United Association of Plumbers and Steamfitters

·        Shane Broadwell, Majority Leader, Oswego County Legislature

·        Stephen Butler, Executive Director, CNY Arts

·        Hon. James Eby, Community Member/Resident

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