Seneca Falls DRI
May 14, 2021

Former Governor Cuomo Announces Transformational Projects in Fulton and Seneca Falls as Part of $10 Million Award

Former Governor Cuomo Announces Transformational Projects in Fulton and Seneca Falls as Part of $10 Million Award

Downtown Revitalization Initiative Funds Key Catalytic Projects That Continue the Governor's Goal to Enrich Both Communities 

Projects Will Enhance Waterfront Amenities, Create New Residential and Retail Spaces, and Support Small Businesses and Industry

Former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced a list of transformational projects for Fulton and Seneca Falls as part of their $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative awards. The 16 projects in Fulton and 13 projects in Seneca Falls will enhance waterfront amenities, repurpose existing buildings to develop new residential and retail spaces, and support small businesses and industry. The investments are part of the Former Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities for Central New York and the Finger Lakes. 

"We must reimagine New York and build back a better, stronger economy than before the devastating pandemic," Former Governor Cuomo said. "Programs like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative are providing local communities with the resources to make their bold visions for the future a reality. These strategic investments in Fulton and Seneca Falls will infuse new life into their downtown areas and will create a better place for both present and future generations alike."

"A healthy downtown is vital to a community's overall economic health, especially as we enter a post-pandemic future," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is strengthening communities through smart growth in Central New York, in the Finger Lakes and across the state. The projects announced in Fulton and Seneca Falls today will change the trajectories of these communities further making them great destinations to work, play and raise a family."

Fulton - Central New York Region 

Fulton was named a Round 4 winner in August 2019. Fulton's award will leverage the city's historic downtown waterfront and the economic drivers found in Fulton's health, service, and manufacturing industries and its innovative entrepreneurs to enhance the city's natural and cultural attractions. These investments will enhance amenities along the waterfront, support small businesses, reactivate commercial and industrial properties, and enhance public trails and healthcare offerings. This will create an improved quality of life, new downtown living, retail, restaurants, entertainment, and job opportunities.  

Projects funded through the initiative will: 

  • Expand Oswego Health's Essential Services - $2,000,000: Bring additional medical services to downtown Fulton through the expansion of Oswego Health's Fulton campus.  
  • Revitalize a Vacant Building on the Former Nestle site - $1,500,000: Renovate and re-purpose an abandoned building on the old Nestle site into a mixed-use development. Proposed uses include 55 to 65 residential units, office space, restaurant and a Nestle museum.  
  • Develop a New Manufacturing Start-up Facility on the Former Nestle Site - $860,000: Build a new facility on the former Nestle site to attract and expand advanced start-up manufacturing businesses.  
  • Create a Business Assistance Fund to Provide Resources and Financial Support to Encourage Downtown Revitalization - $750,000: Establish a grant fund to help local businesses with building upgrades, permanent equipment purchases, and technical assistance.  
  • Strengthen Infrastructure of Building & Machinery at Major Manufacturing Facility - $420,000: Undertake facility and infrastructure upgrades at the Huhtamaki manufacturing campus to maintain jobs, enhance streetscapes, and improve pedestrian safety.  
  • Raise the Roof on Arts and Entertainment in the Heart of Downtown Fulton - $352,000: Make improvements to the CNY Community Arts Center by leveling the roof over the south side of the building to match the existing Mezzanine roof level, creating new usable space for expanded activities, and completing on-site sewer repair work.  
  • Create a Downtown Vibe Through Multi-Site Improvements -$185,000: Undertake renovation and expansion activities at six commercial locations in the center of Fulton's downtown: Canalview Mall, Cayuga St Café, Dizzy Block Brewing, Empire Drone Company, Fulton Family Medicine Renovations, and Tavern on the Lock Expansion.  
  • Restore and Transform an Abandoned Historic Building into an Inn and Café - $140,000:Transform a historic vacant building located at 181 S. 1st Street into Kings Road Inn, a 4-to-6 room inn with cafe and coffee lounge.  
  • Provide Fast Casual Food Choices in Downtown Fulton -$137,000: Undertake interior and exterior renovations of a vacant building to create a counter service restaurant with a globally influenced menu. The site will include an outdoor patio and drive-thru pick up window.  
  • Redevelop a Commercial Building in the 481 Gateway Corridor -$112,000: Rehabilitation of a strip mall visible from the gateway for new and existing tenants. New tenants to include barber shop and beauty supply store.  
  • Enhance the Beauty and Functionality of Fulton's Waterfront for Residents and Visitors - $1,713,000: Modernize and enhance the waterfront area and Canal Landing Marina to create a premium destination and attraction for boaters, visitor and residents, while establishing a strong connection to the core downtown area.  
  • Construct Multi-Use Walking Trails within the DRI Boundary - $820,000: Complete construction of the Pathfinder Canal Towpath Trail on the east side of the Oswego River, install decorative uplighting on the Broadway and Oneida Street Bridges, and add new fencing to the Oneida Bridge.  
  • Update and Energize the Library to Improve Accessibility and Create a Cultural Destination for Residents and Visitors -$311,000: Undertake improvements to the historic Fulton Public Library to create new outdoor public spaces and improve safety.  Work will include rehabilitation of two emergency staircases, rehabilitation of two chimneys, and construction of two outdoor meeting areas with a connection to the trail system.  
  • Upgrade Internet Services in the City of Fulton - $200,000: Provide reliable high-speed internet for local businesses and residents through installation of fiber optics and Wi-Fi infrastructure.  
  • Implement a Community-Supported Downtown and Historic Marker and Signage Program - $100,000: Promote downtown Fulton attractions including, but not limited to, the historic district, Pathfinder, Towpath and Canalview trails, and CNY Arts Center.  
  • Update the City's Zoning Code to Allow for Infill Mixed-Use Development Along South 1st Street - $100,000: Update the City's zoning code and design guidelines for the DRI area, and specifically along South 1st Street, to support and attract new development that is consistent with the vision for the downtown.  

Seneca Falls - Finger Lakes Region 

Seneca Falls was named a Round 4 winner in November 2019. Downtown Seneca Falls is a walkable community centered around Fall Street and the Sackett District, both of which cater to residents, businesses, museums, and visitors. With a highly motivated and educated workforce, an active business community, and easy access to the Finger Lakes, the hamlet is on the cusp of a historic revitalization. These projects will enhance historic and cultural assets, improve waterfront amenities, and support small businesses, tourism sites and related infrastructure. These investments will serve to encourage additional investment, boost the impact of surrounding projects, and help support downtown economic development initiatives. 

Projects funded through the initiative will: 

  • Establish the National Women's Hall of Fame as a Destination - $1,000,000: Renovation of the iconic smokestack, installation of new permanent exhibits, and construction of a code-compliant elevator and external stairwell for access and expansion to the second, third, and fourth floors for additional museum space to enhance historic cultural destination.  
  • Transform It's A Wonderful Life Museum - $912,000: Museum expansion to include structural stabilization of the building, façade renovation to reflect its historic appearance, enhanced accessibility, and improved signage. Expansion is the first phase of expected multi-phased improvement.  
  • Activate the State Street Station - $605,000: Renovate the former historic train station into a full-service Italian restaurant and banquet hall.  
  • Establish a Building Improvement Fund - $600,000: A building improvement fund will be established to provide grant funding for downtown building owners to support interior and exterior building improvements.   
  • Reinvigorate the Gould Hotel - $405,000: Renovation of hotel's first floor including lobby upgrades, conversion of the restaurant into a dual-purposed café & gastro-cocktail lounge and relocation of the bar.   
  • Renovate the Historic Huntington Building - $400,000: Repurposing of the historic Huntington Building into a 50-unit affordable residential complex. Half of the units will be reserved as permanent supportive housing for veterans.  
  • Launch Culinary Arts Studio and Apartments - $400,000: Renovation of two downtown buildings for a ground floor hands-on culinary arts studio and conversion of vacant upper floors into affordable housing units.   
  • Create Residential Units at the Finger Lakes Health Institute - $400,000: Conversion of the vacant second floor classrooms of the former St. Patrick's School into 10 affordable residential units in the mixed-use facility.   
  • Renovate the Daniels Block - $253,200: Conversion of the vacant third floor space in the Daniels Block into five new accessible residential loft units that will be serviced by a new three-stop elevator.  
  • North Canalside Enhancements - $3,690,000: People's Park improvements including new pathways and decks overlooking the canal; burying utility lines and providing better access to the canal from downtown.
  • Improve the Heritage & Information Center of Seneca Falls - $533,082: Provide upgrades to the Heritage and Information Center including façade improvements, updating permanent interior exhibits, installation of a new elevator and renovations to boater spaces.  
  • Enhance Community Recreation - $324,000: Installation of 'street league' obstacles to the Seneca Falls Skate Park and an ADA-compliant kayak launch at the Community Recreation Center.  
  • Enhance Ludovico Sculpture Trail - $177,718: Installation of a new gateway entry plaza, upgrading the trail surface to be accessible to all, and the addition of descriptive sculpture plaques.   

Both communities developed a strategic investment plan to revitalize their downtown areas with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million award. Local planning committees made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The strategic investment plans examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. 

These projects are the latest example of Former Governor Cuomo's ongoing commitment to Fulton and Seneca Falls and Central New York and the Finger Lakes.     

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative investments have the power to reinvigorate local communities and make them ready to build back better for the post COVID-19 world. These strategic projects, selected through a collaborative planning process, will leverage private investments to help Fulton and Seneca Falls create vibrant downtowns with bustling businesses, new housing opportunities and amenities for the communities to enjoy. These awarded projects will provide a boost to these cities as they reopen, and I look forward to seeing these exciting projects come to life for a healthy future of their residents." 

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative empowers municipalities to reach their full potential. Through targeted investments, we are transforming downtowns across the state into vibrant and attractive city centers. The 29 awarded projects for Fulton and Seneca Falls will develop new housing and business opportunities, improve infrastructure and foster smart economic growth that will benefit residents for years to come." 

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "These targeted, community-led Downtown Revitalization Initiative investments in Fulton and Seneca Falls will help to fuel the economic engines needed to support local businesses and foster growth. The DRI's transformational projects continue to improve the quality of life in communities around the state and will further support our work to reimagine and rebuild an even stronger New York for future generations."  

Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bob Duffy and SUNY Geneseo President Denise Battles said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is bolstering the economic renaissance underway in Seneca Falls by investing in its unique local assets which will attract jobs and private investment to the beautiful downtown area. These strategic and diverse projects will help to further develop the business district, building on our efforts to ensure that the Finger Lakes region continues to move forward." 

Central New York Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York (MACNY) and Deborah Stanley, President of the State University of New York at Oswego, said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative will bolster Fulton's future by investing in local assets, attracting jobs and private investment which will transform the downtown area. These strategic and diverse projects will no doubt build on our focused efforts to build regional momentum, ensuring Central New York continues to rise." 

Senator Patty Ritchie said, "Downtowns are often times the heart of a community and when you invest in them, the transformative impact is far-reaching," said Senator Patty Ritchie. "The projects announced today capitalize on some of the City of Fulton's greatest assets, including its rich history and its waterfront. I am excited to see the impact they have when it comes to growing the City's economy and making it a more attractive place for people to live, work and visit." 

Assembly Member William Barclay said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is helping to transform communities and provide numerous opportunities for the residents of Upstate New York. Specifically, the projects in Fulton and Seneca Falls will provide exciting enhancements to the areas' waterfront and surrounding properties. I am greatly looking forward to the completion of these projects, and seeing firsthand the impact they will have on residents, small businesses and the local economies."  

Assembly Member Jeff Gallahan said, "Our upstate Main Streets and downtowns are treasures for New York and their success is imperative to New York's economic revitalization.  This investment in Seneca Falls will fund 13 projects that will make the area a better place to live, work and visit.  I am proud to represent Seneca Falls with its historic past and excited for the bright future Seneca Falls has in store thanks to the Downtown Revitalization Initiative," 

City of Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels said, "These investments in the City of Fulton will help transform the downtown area and support small businesses. I'm grateful for the Governor's continued support of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which will help Fulton come back stronger in its recovery from COVID-19.  I am excited to see how the projects announced today help to revitalize the community, support our small businesses and foster economic growth." 

Seneca Falls Supervisor Michael Ferrara said, "The projects selected for Seneca Fall's Downtown Revitalization Initiative will provide a boost to the entire community and region. By investing in our significant cultural assets, supporting small businesses and creating new housing opportunities, Seneca Falls will be well positioned for the future. I look forward to seeing these projects come to life." 

About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative 

In 2016, Former Governor Andrew Cuomo launched a major new initiative —the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Through this initiative, the Former 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 ten 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.