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Utica named Mohawk Valley winner in fourth round of Downtown Revitalization Initiative

By Eric Reinhardt

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The City of Utica will work to determine how to spend $10 million in funding as the Mohawk Valley winner of the fourth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Utica as a DRI winner on Tuesday. (Adam Rombel / CNYBJ file photo)

UTICA, N.Y. — The state is awarding the City of Utica $10 million in funding as the Mohawk Valley winner of the fourth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Utica as the Mohawk Valley winner during a Tuesday appearance at the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica.

As in the first three rounds of the DRI, one municipality from each of the state’s 10 regional economic-development regions is selected as a $10 million winner.

In the DRI program, New York says it seeks to help communities “boost their economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise a family.”

Utica’s fourth-round DRI win entitles the city to receive $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize its downtown neighborhoods and generate new opportunities for long-term growth. Utica now joins the cities of Oneonta, Rome, and Amsterdam, which were the Mohawk Valley’s winners in the first three DRI rounds, respectively.

“This award will provide a major injection into the ongoing explosion of growth taking place in downtown Utica,” Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, Jr. said in Cuomo’s release. “It is vital that the seat of Oneida County sets the tone for the entire area, and as the downtown landscape continues to transform with better transportation routes, more dynamic housing options, the return of retail and an elevation of arts, entertainment and recreation, Utica is re-establishing itself as a major player in upstate New York. I thank Gov. Cuomo for his commitment to ensuring our vision is realized and look forward to the new opportunities that will accompany this funding.”

Utica will now begin the process of developing a plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant.

A local planning committee with municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead the effort. A group of private-sector experts and state planners will support the effort.

The plan for Utica will identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that “align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation,” per the release.

Plans for the DRI’s fourth round will be complete in 2020, Cuomo’s office said.

“The award of this $10 Million for downtown Utica will continue the revitalization of this great city. Once again, I thank Gov. Cuomo for his commitment to the greater Utica area, and downtown Utica, specifically. The governor has been a great partner in the City’s resurgence,” City of Utica Mayor Robert Palmieri said.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

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