Potsdam DRI
May 19, 2021

Former Governor Cuomo Announces Transformational Projects for Potsdam and Hornell as Part of $10 Million Award

Former Governor Cuomo Announces Transformational Projects for Potsdam and Hornell as Part of $10 Million Award

Projects in the North Country and Southern Tier Will Redevelop Underutilized Buildings; Support Downtown Businesses; Improve Infrastructure and Streetscapes

Downtown Revitalization Initiative Funds Key Catalytic Projects Continuing the Former Governor's Goal to Enrich Communities

Former Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the list of transformational projects for Potsdam and Hornell as part of their $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative awards. The eight projects in Potsdam and the 19 projects in Hornell will help to redevelop and repurpose underutilized buildings, improve streetscapes, and support downtown and local businesses. These investments are part of the Former Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities for the North Country and the Southern Tier.

"As we build back New York's economy better than before, we must embrace a bold vision and in ways that breathe renewed vitality into our communities," Former Governor Cuomo said. "The critical resources provided by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative are helping communities like Hornell and Potsdam reimagine and reshape their downtown areas toward a brighter, more prosperous future."

"A healthy downtown is vital to transforming communities into great destinations to work, play and raise a family. Thanks to the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we are doing that in the North Country, Southern Tier and across the state," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The revitalization projects announced today in Potsdam and Hornell will not only further reshape their respective downtowns for the better but generate economic activity and give small businesses a much-needed boost."

Potsdam - North Country Region

Potsdam was named a round 4 winner in October 2019. With this award, the village will leverage recent momentum and investment in the North Country to create a more cohesive, vibrant destination for visitors, residents, and businesses. With the village's historic 19th century core, Potsdam also is evolving as a place where traditional commercial activity blends seamlessly with 21st century higher education, new economy businesses and an arts and cultural environment. With these attributes Potsdam is primed for continued transformation. The village will enhance waterfront amenities, improve streetscapes and pedestrianization. Postdam will also bolster arts and cultural organizations and foster tourism within the village to provide a future that balances the preservation of community character and natural resources with economic development.  

Projects funded through the initiative will:

Relocate and Expand Potsdam Food Co-op - $1,659,000: Business expansion of the food co-op, including the acquisition of new property, renovation, equipment, and marketing. 

Expand the North Country Children's Museum - $1,400,000: Business expansion of the children's museum into the second floor, including basement-and first-floor renovations to accommodate an elevator.

Establish a Fund to Rebuild Downtown Potsdam - $750,000: The revolving grant and loan fund will include rent assistance, main street renovation, a quick-start grant program, and COVID-19-related capital improvements.

Expand the Clarkson Inn - $600,000: Building expansion of the Clarkson Inn to add 20 rooms, meeting space, fitness room, and renovate its furniture and fixtures. 

Revitalize the North Country Arts Center - $578,000: Acquisition and exterior/interior renovation for the new North Country Arts Center,including windows, floors, restrooms, walls, elevator and equipment for a printmaking studio. 

Expand the Sandstone Diner - $118,000: Business expansion of Scoops ice cream into a 1940s/50s-themed seasonal diner serving breakfast and lunch with outdoor seating. 

Enhance the Downtown Streetscape - $2,780,000: Streetscape improvements in the Market Street Historic District, including intersection and safety improvements, street lighting, trees, wayfinding and bioretention. 

Construct a Downtown Riverwalk Trail - $1,815,000: Construction of a looped multi-modal trail along the Raquette River, including a pocket park, shared use path, mural walk and new bike lanes on Maple Street. The trail will connect to existing multi-modal connections downtown.

Hornell - Southern Tier Region

Hornell was named a round 4 winner in October 2019. Located on the western border of Steuben County, the city has a rich history as a regional commercial center. The city plans to leverage investment to foster the downtown's cultural, historic, educational, artistic, recreational, housing, and commercial opportunities. The funding will help the city improve public areas,including pedestrian connections, streetscapes, and parks. Additional improvements include the redevelopment of underutilized buildings and enhancement of arts and cultural offerings. The city will strengthen existing local and regional assets, create long-term value to support future generations, and provide an inclusive and sustainable downtown experience for residents, workers, students and visitors. 

Projects funded through the initiative will:

Transform the Landman Building into Retail, Residential and Community Space - $1,500,000: Renovation of the existing building willcreate a mixed-use development, including four efficiency art studios, commercial and retail space, six apartment units, four townhomes and a rooftop terrace area and community room. 

Renovate 121 Main Street as Maple City Savings Bank Offices - $580,000: Renovation of the building into 12 offices, a reception area, conference rooms, an IT room, two bathrooms and a small kitchen for Maple City Savings.  Phase 2 includes the development of an additional 5,000 square feet of prime office space. 

Develop STEM Academy to Educate Youth in Technology Fields - $423,750: Development of a 2,900-square-foot building to house a state-of-the-art STEM education facility for area youth. The project includes a building demolition, site work, building the structure, and HVAC work, in addition to design, permitting and code compliance. 

Renovate and Expand the Crossroads Professional Building and Site - $420,000: Renovation and rehabilitation of the existing building to expand its medical office space. Renovate and create new outdoor space on the adjacent private property, following the demolition of an existing structure. 

Renovate the Burdett Building to Introduce Market-Rate Apartments - $300,000: Renovation of building's second floor to create three apartments, façade improvements, and upgrades to its first-floor entry. 

Complete Rehabilitation of the Historic St. Ann's Federation Building - $250,350: Complete the renovation of an existing rear façade to include a roof, entry doors, exterior lighting and building signage. The project includes the renovation of a vacant 7,500-square-foot first-floor interior commercial space. 

Transform Hornell Community Arts Center into a Sought-After Community Space - $200,000: Transform the community arts center by through interior and exterior building enhancements, including building signage, façade improvements, landscaping, a new entry and restroom upgrades to make it ADA-compliant. 

Renovate the Professional Building at 34 Broadway Mall - $143,690: Redesign and expand existing interior space to accommodate a state-of-the-art eye care facility. The project also includes façade improvements to bolster the building's overall character. 

Enhance the Mixed-use Building at 200-204 Main Street - $105,370: Façade and streetscape improvements near building with minor interior improvements and the creation of a one-bedroom unit in the rear of the existing commercial unit. 

Rehabilitate the Exterior of a Downtown Fitness Center - $100,000: Rehabilitation of the existing fitness center building facade and shell to include façade painting and a new roof. Additional site improvements include landscaping, lighting, building signage and parking lot repair.  

Convert a House into Church Street Suites - $98,480: Renovation and adaptive re-use of an existing vacant building to create six residential units for short and extended long term housing for business professionals, tourists and visitors. 

Enhance and Upgrade 198 Main Street to Create Housing Units - $82,500: Renovation and rehabilitation of the existing 4,901-square-footbuilding to create 3 to 4 residential units. Renovations include interior improvements and upgrades to all four floors. 

Enhance the Warehouse into a Year-Round Event Space - $52,000: Installation of a heating system and new interior stairwell to upgrade the building for use as a year-round entertainment and event space. Install a fence that would allow views into the greenspace from Broadway. 

Implement Downtown Grant Fund - $378,860: Establish a grant fund to assist downtown property owners with small projects to improve existing buildings/sites. 

Implement Main Street Streetscape Enhancements - $2,800,000: Streetscape improvements to include a range of pedestrian and aesthetic enhancements, including decorative crosswalks, bump outs, streetscape furniture, and lighting upgrades along the length of Main Street within the designated area. 

Implement Enhancements to Pedestrian Alleyways - $1,200,000: Enhancements to seven existing pedestrian alleyways connecting commercial corridors to public spaces and parking lots.  These safety and aesthetic enhancements will help create a cohesive experience for visitors.

Redevelop an Underutilized Parcel to Create A Four-Season Park - $765,000: Creation of a new downtown park space for flexible programming and special events, including a raised stage, walkways, and pedestrian amenities. 

Implement Downtown Wayfinding and Public Art - $250,000: Implement a comprehensive wayfinding system to provide directional guidance to downtown destinations and public parking facilities. Incorporate public art into the streetscape to enhance the wayfinding experience. 

Establish Downtown Design Standards - $50,000: Development of building and site standards to ensure high quality rehabilitation and new construction projects consistent with established character of downtown. 

Both communities developed a strategic investment plan to revitalize their downtowns with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million grant. 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.

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative investments have the power to reinvigorate local communities, particularly after challenges brought on by COVID-19. These strategic projects, selected through a collaborative planning process, leverage private investments to bolster local businesses, improve infrastructure and community offerings for all to enjoy for years to come. I look forward to seeing these exciting projects come to life."

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "These selected Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects in Potsdam and Hornell will further support local businesses by fostering their individual local assets, attracting jobs and private investment. The DRI is truly transformational and will serve to improve the quality of life for residents and visitors alike in these communities for generations to come."

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "With the help of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Potsdam and Hornell will benefit from enhanced infrastructure, new cultural offerings, and improved public spaces to create thriving downtowns that will attract even more visitors, businesses and residents. These awarded projects, prioritized with the input of local stakeholders, will capitalize on each community's assets and spur private investment for decades to come."

North Country Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Dr. Ty Stone, Jefferson Community College President, and James McKenna, Regional Office of Sustainable Tourism CEO, said, "Placemaking is vital to creating inviting, walkable downtowns that welcome visitors to explore and encourage new residents to establish roots. The eight projects selected for downtown Potsdam will support future growth by utilizing assets like waterfront access and an arts and entertainment venue to spur new investments in the community."

St. Lawrence County Board of Legislators Chair William Sheridan said, "I want to thank Governor Cuomo for this investment in the Village of Potsdam. The Village worked with the community to develop a plan that will enhance the downtown. This funding will help make needed improvement to downtown to move the community forward."

Village of Potsdam Mayor Reinhold J. Tischler said, "The village of Potsdam was thrilled to have been selected by Governor Cuomo as one of the 2019 recipients of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.  Our local planning team, state agency partners and consultants released a call for projects that resulted in Potsdam receiving 42 downtown revitalization proposals.  Fourteen of these were included in our strategic investment plan based on their potential to have a transformational impact on downtown Potsdam. The Governor selected 8 projects focusing on private commercial development, streetscape enhancements, the arts, culture and waterfront recreation. We believe these projects will fundamentally change downtown for the better, making Potsdam the best place to live, work, study and play in St. Lawrence County. We appreciate Governor Cuomo's commitment to our community and look forward to the successful completion of these important revitalization projects."

Senator Joe Griffo said, "Potsdam had a creative and viable plan that enabled them to successfully obtain funding for their downtown. I urge the community to include and heed input from residents as they implement their various projects."

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director, Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development and Broome Community College President Kevin Drumm said, "The selected Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects will serve to further bolster Hornell's future by investing in its local assets, attracting jobs and private investment, transforming the beautiful downtown area. These strategic and diverse projects will help to continue our focused efforts to build regional momentum, ensuring that the Southern Tier continues to soar."

Steuben County Manager Jack K. Wheeler said, "Steuben County is very grateful for New York State's continued investment in the revitalization of our communities. These DRI-funded projects are truly transformational for the City of Hornell and Western Steuben County. We thank our local and state officials for their hard work and creativity and are confident these efforts will benefit our communities for decades to come."

Hornell Mayor John Buckley said, "This is a day for celebration in the city of Hornell. These transformative projects will help propel Hornell's downtown to new heights and open the door to economic prosperity. This important investment in the Maple City couldn't have come at a better time. With Hornell recently named the second fastest growing city in the state and the Alstom's continued growth, our beautiful and prospering city is positioned for success for years to come."

Mayor Buckley also said, “I would like to thank Governor Cuomo and Lt. Governor Hochul for helping make this a reality, Senator Tom O’Mara, Assemblywoman Marjorie Byrnes and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano for their unrelenting support. I also want to thank Julie Sweet from the Dept. of State and Kimberly Baptiste for their guidance through the DRI process, LPC co-chair Shawn Hogan and each member of the Local Planning Committee for devoting countless hours to develop our Strategic Investment Plan which is the roadmap to revitalize downtown Hornell. Last, but certainly not least, a big thank you to our community for being engaged and supportive throughout this process.  We have much to be proud of and much to celebrate. Hornell is a city on the move!”


About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative

In 2016, Former Governor 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 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.