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Western NY Region DRI Winners Announced

November 29, 2021

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood and the City of North Tonawanda will receive $10 million each in funding as the Western New York region winners of the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).

As part of DRI Round 5, each of the state's 10 regional economic development regions are being awarded $20 million, to make for a total state commitment of $200 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their post COVID-19 economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods.

"As a Buffalo native, I know the impact this funding will have in improving the Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood and North Tonawanda," Governor Hochul said. "The COVID-19 pandemic showed us just how important our small businesses and local communities are to the state's economy and for New York to succeed, we must protect them. These investments will serve to show all that these communities have to offer, so that they will not just survive, but thrive as we build back toward a brighter future."

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin said, "As we continue to rebuild from the pandemic these investments will bring a renewed sense of hope to Buffalo and North Tonawanda, as they have for the other communities who have been a part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. These funds will go a long way towards delivering the lively, livable and high quality downtown that residents deserve."

Led by the Department of State, the DRI serves as a cornerstone of the State's economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract redevelopment, businesses, jobs, and economic and housing diversity.

In this round, Governor Hochul doubled funding from $100 million to $200 million and allowed each Regional Economic Development Council to decide whether to nominate two $10 million awardees or one $20 million awardee for transformative and catalytic downtown redevelopment projects.

Like past DRI rounds, each selected community will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have the potential to transform the downtown and leverage further private and public investments. DRI funds will then be awarded for selected projects that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community's vision for the downtown. Through the DRI, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will provide technical support to the awardees to assist them with including carbon neutral principles in support of the state's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050.

Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood

Located in the City of Buffalo's East Side, the Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood is one of the oldest in Buffalo, and the focus of Buffalo's plan for a downtown investment. The Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood with a relatively dense stock of largely historic commercial buildings, set forth a vision of creating special urban places, key park spaces, retail-oriented streets, improved neighborhood connections, bike and pedestrian connections, streetscape improvements and public realm improvements.

This area has seen many completed and ongoing investments, including multiple mixed-use redevelopments, a community health hub, and improvements to the Broadway Market and Buffalo Central Terminal. Building on this momentum, Buffalo aims to encourage redevelopment of vacant structures, provide better connections between anchors and amenities through greenspace, increase affordable housing opportunities, and enhance the streetscape.

North Tonawanda

North Tonawanda aims to make their downtown a vibrant, mixed-use district centered on the confluence of two waterfronts: the Niagara River and the Erie Canal, to create a unified and interconnected environment as the "Gateway to the Erie Canal". Downtown North Tonawanda is unique as it includes the 80-acre Tonawanda Island and is itself a local historic preservation district. With a demonstrated ability to pursue and implement large projects, including the $2.5 million Smart Growth Community Fund, the Remington Lofts project, and the $20 million River Road Apartments, and multiple ongoing projects, including the River Road Reconstruction project, $24 million Timber Shore project, and $3 million YWCA of the Niagara Frontier building, North Tonawanda wants to increase public/green space, improve senior housing, and improve infrastructure to support further development.

New York Pressroom

November 29, 2021

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