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SU launches second round of Connective Corridor Façade Improvement Program

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

SYRACUSE — Syracuse University (SU) recently received $250,000 from the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council to fund the launch of the second round of the Connective Corridor Façade Improvement Program (FIP) to spruce up downtown buildings.

“I think it’s an opportunity for us to build on the success of the first round in which we worked with property owners to make meaningful changes to their buildings that activated them for more economic opportunities,” Linda Dickerson Hartsock, director of SU’s Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development, said at an April 12 event to kick off round two of FIP.

The first round of the Façade Improvement Program provided a total of $625,000 in funding to 40 businesses and nonprofit organizations for their outdoor renovation, lighting displays, window and door replacement, and other architectural enhancements, according to the Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development.

Local businesses and community organizations it funded include the Milton J. Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology, St Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral, Berry Dental, Harvey’s Pharmacy, PJ’s Pub & Grill, the Hill Medical Center, Syracuse Eye Center, and PHP Realty, among others.

The second round of FIP, in additional to continue improving exterior aesthetic elements of the buildings, will emphasize the lighting component, according to Hartsock.

“We have buildings here with architectural significance that are the envy of other cities,” said Hartsock. “How we work to light them, showcase them, and encourage evening activities downtown is something we are really looking for.”

Any commercial, industrial, nonprofit or mixed-use property owners located directly on or adjacent to the Connective Corridor map, can apply for an FIP award at SU Office of Community Engagement Development at the fourth floor of 350 W. Fayette St. or online at http://connectivecorridor.syr.edu/resources/. The Connective Corridor map is at: http://connectivecorridor.syr.edu/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/CorridorProject_web.pdf .

The maximum award is $25,000 per property. Applicants must provide a 10 percent equity match toward the amount awarded. Funding cannot be used for improvements that are not visible from the street, according to the Office of Community Engagement and Economic Development.

“There are very few programs left for small businesses with this direct financial assistance for this kind of improvement. It’s really well-suited for small businesses,” said Hartsock.

All applications for the second round of FIP will be evaluated by the Façade Review Committee that includes representatives from the city of Syracuse, the Downtown Committee of Syracuse, and SU faculty in architecture and landscape design.

Hartsock said a few businesses had already applied for the second round of the program. But she declined to disclose their names.

FIP is part of the Connective Corridor program, a civic-engagement initiative launched by SU that aims to link the university hill with downtown Syracuse and spur urban revitalization. SU has secured $42.5 million in external funding and more than $250 million additional investment for the Connective Corridor, according to the program’s website. More than 400 students and faculty members are engaged in this project. Its funding sources include New York state funds, federal TIGER grants, Onondaga County green infrastructure funds, National Grid economic-development funds, and other local public and private funding.

 

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