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Auburn will use state downtown-revitalization money on 13 projects

By Eric Reinhardt


New York Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul and Auburn Mayor Michael Quill hold the ceremonial check for Auburn’s $10 million state grant in the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Officials on Tuesday announced 13 projects that Auburn will target with its grant award. (Photo credit: City of Auburn Twitter profile)

AUBURN, N.Y. — The city of Auburn will target 13 projects with its $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) award, which the state announced last July.

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the projects during a Tuesday morning event at the Auburn Public Theater.

Auburn developed a plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A local planning committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private-sector experts and state planners.

Some of the projects

The projects include architectural and site improvements around the campuses of the Schweinfurth Art Center and Cayuga Museum of History and Arts, the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a news release.

Proposed improvements include a continuous outdoor walkway, parking lot and driveway upgrades, new plazas, new accessible entryways to both museums, and amenities such as lighting, signage, interpretive panels, bike racks, benches, and a play sculpture.

Crews will also redevelop a 1970s strip mall on Seminary Street as a new shared-services, public-safety building to create office space for a city and county emergency operations center and emergency-management office, as well as facilities to replace the deteriorating City of Auburn Fire Department facility “currently located in a dam inundation zone.”

Another project will renovate the Auburn Public Theater to allow for a greater variety of programming and ensure the community anchor’s long-term stability, the state said. The project includes the creation of a café, community event space, a black box theater, an Auburn Music Hall of Fame, an elevator, kitchen space, a new entryway, and exterior renovations such as a new entrance, digital sign, awnings, and marquees.

Plans also call for the renovation work at the Seward House Museum’s barn and carriage house to serve as meeting, office, and event spaces. The project will include stabilizing and repairing the barn foundation and facade, repairing interior and exterior features, updating electrical service, conducting thermal improvements, and either fixing or removing an adjacent potting shed.

Crews will also renovate the vacant Plaza of the Arts building to accommodate Cayuga Community College’s new culinary arts program and provide a café and central space for community events. Interior renovations will include instructional space as well as build-out and fixed equipment for a commercial grade kitchen.

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