The City of Rome has invested around $5 million in grant money to make improvements to their downtown area. Some of the money has gone to the Centro Bus Transfer Station, as well as improved parking at the Liberty George Parking area, and Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo believes the improvements are already spurring growth.
"We’ve had several projects done through the business development grant. We have a couple of new businesses. The Balanced Chef if open. We have another one under construction. Another restaurant, Copperccino’s is doing well, so we’ve got a little synergy there."
Next year the City will be renovating City Hall, upgrading the City Green, and constructing the Liberty James Parking Garage. The money being spent is considered more of an investment with a return.
"We’re hoping that we will be leveraging the $10 million 2 or 3 times."
Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul toured the area, and expects an even bigger return on the money.
"We have seen an astounding, astounding return on investment. We will invest $10 million, but communities that I’ve visited this far I see anywhere upwards of a $40 million on up investment from the private sector. This is supposed to leverage private sector investment, and we start cleaning up one block, well that makes it for another investor to find the next block more attractive."
The $5 million Cold Point facility found the next block to be more attractive. They’ve relocated to the downtown area, retaining 35 jobs and adding 15 more. That’s the kind of improvements the Mayor is hoping to see in the future.
"We’re seeing much more traffic now in the downtown area with the restaurants that are opening, so our philosophy seems to be working for the overall DRI to improve the downtown area, improve traffic. Now we’ll work on pedestrian connections."