June 22, 2021



Park Improvements Include New Year-Round Pavilion, New Bath House, Ice Rink and Splash Pad  

Former Governor's Downtown Revitalization Initiative Funds Key Catalytic Projects to Revitalize Watkins Glen

Former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the completion of $5.3 million in renovations at Clute Park in Watkins Glen, a project funded through the Schuyler County village's $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award in 2017. Improvements include new gathering spaces and recreational features such as a year-round pavilion, a bath house with amenities, a winter ice rink and a summer splash pad.

"As we build back New York better than it was, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative is empowering local communities to reimagine their downtown areas as hubs of economic opportunity that benefit the entire region," Former Governor Cuomo said. "Our investment in Clute Park will provide Watkins Glen with yet another attraction to bolster tourism and spur economic growth for generations to come."

"Watkins Glen is a New York State gem and we are further transforming the community into a great place for families, businesses and tourists to work and play," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "Our Downtown Revitalization Initiative provides new gathering spaces and recreational opportunities that will not only benefit the Watkins Glen community, but also boost businesses, create jobs and draw visitors to the Southern Tier region for generations to come."   

As part of the improvements at Clute Park, the new year-round pavilion has space for a future café and the new bath house includes outdoor showers. The new spaces are all ADA accessible.

The village received several state grants to fund this $5.3 million project, with the Department of State providing roughly $2.6 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding and more than $2.1 million in Local Waterfront Revitalization Program grants from the Environmental Protection Fund. The state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation also provided a $415,000 grant for the project. 

New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects are reinvigorating Watkin Glen's economy and its reputation as a world class tourism destination. Safe and accessible public gathering spaces are the hallmark of a vibrant downtown and the improvements made at Clute Park will provide ample recreational opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy for years to come. I am proud of the role that the Department of State played in bringing this project to fruition and look forward to the continued transformation of Watkins Glen."

Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation Commissioner Erik Kulleseid said, "The completion of this transformative project at Clute Park will enhance the recreational opportunities that are available for residents and visitors of Watkins Glen to enjoy. The efforts from this Downtown Revitalization Initiative will continue to drive the local economy and further promote Watkins Glen as one of New York's premier travel destinations."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "The Cuomo administration's Downtown Revitalization Initiative has made a world of difference for thousands of people across the state, creating or improving the built environment in a thoughtful, community-driven way that brings new life and purpose to our towns' main streets and business hubs. Giving residents a fresh way of seeing and enjoying their communities as we've done with this renewal of Clute Park helps to make Watkins Glen an even stronger draw for both locals and visitors coming from far and wide. Helping strong local economies thrive is at the heart of our comprehensive efforts to keep New York State growing better and coming back stronger." 

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "As we focus on building back an even better New York, it is wonderful to be able to celebrate the targeted and transformative Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects that are maximizing the potential of city centers around the state. This Clute Park space, in the beautiful Village of Watkins Glen, has become an exceptional gathering spot for residents and visitors, and reflects our efforts to fuel the regional economy by creating places where people want to visit, play and work."

Named a Round 2 winner in 2017, the two-square mile area in Watkins Glen selected for revitalization includes a traditional walkable downtown that is surrounded by both residential and commercial neighborhoods. The area includes more than150 businesses, numerous residential properties, and cultural institutions. Downtown Watkins Glen is ripe for investment, benefitting from local amenities that include the Seneca Lake waterfront, parks, wine trails, a growing art scene, and the internationally-recognized Watkins Glen International.

The downtown Watkins Glen Strategic Investment Plan is guiding revitalization projects that advance the community's vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment. Funded projects will build upon other recent investments in the downtown and surrounding area, including Watkins Glen International and Watkins Glen State Park, to create a sustainable environment for a year-round innovative and prosperous economy.

About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative

In 2016, Former Governor Cuomo launched a major new initiative —the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Through this initiative, the Governor moved to aggressively accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhood to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment in all ten regions of the state. The initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation.

In four years, the state has committed $400 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity. Participating communities are nominated by the state's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown's potential for transformation, and each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization. 

The initiative is headed by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and state Homes and Community Renewal.