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Southern Tier communities receive $19 million in downtown revitalization funding

By Traci DeLore (


Gov. Kathy Hochul announced $19 million in funding for the villages of Johnson City, Mountour Falls, and Waverly to spend on downtown-revitalization projects as part of New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative and the NY Forward program. (Photo credit: Mike Groll via Gov. Hochul Flickr)

Johnson City will receive $10 million in state Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding while the villages of Montour Falls and Waverly will each get $4.5 million in NY Forward funding.

“This $10 million in funding awarded to the village of Johnson City will help grow the local economy by attracting businesses and jobs and will create a vibrant, diverse community that will uplift the downtown for generations to come,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said in a release.

Johnson City can leverage the $10 million in DRI funds along its nearly 200-acre DRI area that includes the downtown district and surrounding lands and buildings that once housed the Endicott-Johnson Shoe Company. The goal is to create a downtown with a youthful and artistic vibe that fits its transformation from a working-class manufacturing community to a new economy leveraging higher education, health care, and culture, state and local officials contend.

“There has been a lot of development in and around our downtown over the last few years,” Johnson City Mayor Marty Meaney said. “This development has started the revitalization in our downtown. However, revitalization is not a speedy process. With this award, we will see the transformation into a vibrant downtown so much sooner.”

Waverly and Montour Falls projects may include building renovations and redevelopment, new construction, or creation of new or improved public spaces or other projects that elevate cultural or historical qualities that enhance their small-town charm.

“Montour Falls and Waverly represent some of the best that New York state has to offer — natural beauty, a vibrant business community, thriving agriculture, and culturally rich historical sites,” Hochul said.

Officials in all three communities will now develop a strategic investment plan with a local planning committee comprised of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders leading the effort. They will be supported by a team of private-sector experts and state planners.

The plans will examine local assets and opportunities to identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the downtown-revitalization vision, are poised for implementation, and will jumpstart revitalization.

“These funds will allow for the community as a whole to invest in its preferred future, collectively, as a group,” Waverly Mayor Patrick Ayres said. He added that the NY Forward funding might encourage additional community stakeholders to invest their own capital into projects.

“This level of funding will help advance Montour Falls in meeting its economic and community betterment goals,” Montour Falls Mayor James Ryan said.

Created in 2016, the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative provides funding to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all of the state’s 10 economic-development regions. In the first five years, the state has committed $600 million to 59 downtown areas.

NY Forward is a central component of the state’s economic-development efforts, working with the DRI to accelerate and expand downtown revitalizations. NY Forward communities are walkable, less dense areas that serve the immediate local community.

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