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Oneida County launches Main Street program to help support downtown-development projects

By Eric Reinhardt (ereinhardt@cnybj.com)

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Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. (at podium) announces the Oneida County Main Street program. Joining Picente for the announcement are Verona Town Supervisor Scott Musacchio (left) and Sherrill Mayor William Vineall. (Photo credit: Oneida County)

UTICA, N.Y. — Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. on Wednesday announced a Main Street program that seeks to provide support for local municipal downtown-development projects.

The program also seeks to assist in the “safe and efficient” redesign of main streets and promote investment and business growth. Picente first announced the program in his State of the County address earlier this year.

The Oneida County Planning Department will work with cities, towns, and villages to “rethink and rebrand” their main streets including complete street designs, parking, streetscapes, façade programs, public-space design, and entrance-way development. The program will have two phases: planning assistance and capital-project funding.

The program involves a $500,000 fund for planning assistance — with a 50-50 match between the municipalities and the county — to develop main-street programs in participating communities. Once the main-street planning is finished, the projects included will be funded through a $5 million fund that will be capitalized over two years.

“We stand ready to partner with local communities to improve main streets and support downtown-development projects across Oneida County,” Picente said. “Revitalizing our main streets will not just make them safer and more accessible, but will bring customers back, create jobs and foster private investment. Together, we can create the collective impact that not only moves us past the pandemic but thrusts us into a better and more sustainable future.”

The Main Street program aims to improve safety, provide better access for local businesses, allow people to move safely on foot, accommodate bicyclists, and support climate-smart investments.

A main-street project doesn’t have a singular design format. Projects in rural hamlets, villages, townships, and small cities will look different from those found in the larger cities. It is “essential” that each community responds to the needs of its people as they design a main-street project and consider how their project reflects the “theme and values already present in their community,” Oneida County noted.

The Oneida County Department of Planning has an application and information packet and program guidebook available on the county website. Those interested can also contact the Oneida County Department of Planning for more information at (315) 798-5710.

 

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