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Cuomo announces winning projects in Elmira $10 million DRI prize


ELMIRA, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday announced the winning projects selected for the City of Elmira’s $10 million prize as part of the first round of the state’s $100 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).

Cuomo’s office a year ago announced Elmira as the Southern Tier’s winner in the first round of the competition that seeks to revitalize the

downtowns of cities across the state into economic centers.


Working together with state agencies and the area’s regional economic-development concil (REDC), the City of Elmira has built a “strategic” investment plan that identifies downtown projects “consistent with the initiative’s goals,” Cuomo’s office said in a news release issued Wednesday.


“This investment will bring many opportunities to Elmira, as it continues to develop into an economic hub for businesses to thrive, while attracting young professionals to its downtown,” Cuomo said.


Projects to be funded

Elmira will use its $10 million award on nine projects that include a mixed-use development project on West Water Street, rehabilitating and reopening the Lake Street pedestrian bridge, and fixing the 40-year-old Centertown parking garage.

The efforts also include plans to renovate an “underutilized” public space in Elmira’s downtown to create Clemens Square, a “walkable and inviting” public space that links Clemens Center, First Arena, and Main Street, as well as the West Water Street mixed-use development project, several renovated “historic” buildings, and the renovated Centertown parking garage.

Elmira will also use the funding to improve and upgrade Riverfront Park on the Chemung River; renovate “vacant and underutilized” buildings in the area for housing, ground floor retail, and commercial business needs; reconfigure public parking on West Water Street; “modernize” the City of Elmira’s zoning code by adding a new form-based overlay district to apply to the DRI area; and provide small loans to owners of buildings within the DRI area to renovate retail and commercial storefronts and spaces.


Selecting Elmira

The Southern Tier REDC selected Elmira as the winning DRI community in the Southern Tier region after the local regional council “weighed” seven criteria in selecting the city as its nominee.

The list of seven criteria include the requirement that downtown “must contain” properties or characteristics that contribute or that could contribute, if enhanced, to the “attractiveness and livability” of the downtown, including the presence of developable mixed-use spaces; housing at different levels of affordability and type; commercial and retail main-street businesses, including healthy and affordable food markets; walkability and bikeability; and public parks and gathering spaces.

“This funding will be the catalyst in revitalizing our downtown, which will lead to the revitalization of our entire City,” Elmira Mayor Dan Mandell said in the governor’s release.


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