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Revitalizing downtown Utica; what the city plans to do with the DRI grant

The overall goals of these transformational projects are to redevelop downtown to unite the community, attract new residents and visitors, and stimulate economic investment.

Posted: Nov 13, 2019 10:56 PM
Updated: Nov 14, 2019 10:00 AM

UTICA, N.Y. - Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Tuesday that the city of Utica will receive $10 million as part of New York state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The city has a lot of plans to revitalize downtown and many projects are already laid out in the DRI application.

The overall goals of these transformational projects are to redevelop downtown to unite the community, attract new residents and visitors, and stimulate economic investment.

Some ways to do that will be developing a new road design for public safety, creating opportunity for green spaces and urban art and revitalizing historic or vacant buildings.

Some of the locations highlighted in the application that will be implemented to connect different districts of downtown are the Stanley Theater, Munson Williams, the DeSales building, and Oneida National Bank, just to name a few.

The application was created with the help of the Community Foundation and the CEO says the focus right now is Genesee Street.

“Genesee Street is kind of the center of downtown and revitalizing businesses there, infill development, helping businesses that are there, facade improvements, introducing public art, introducing new experiences in walkability and connectivity to the neighborhoods and other areas,” Alicia Dicks, president and CEO of the Community Foundation.

The idea is to bring Genesee Street to a new level to make downtown a more vibrant place.

“For so long I’ve heard about Utica decades ago, right, and everybody’s proud of what Utica was,” Dicks said. “We’ve gone on to have great disinvestment for decades and in the last 10 years we grew out of that and found opportunities and have some great progress and we really need to create that sense of place."

Throughout the process, some of the projects will change and more will be added.

The next step is for the state and the city to put together a planning committee for these projects. The planning committee will hold public meetings for people to provide input and offer ideas.

Read the full DRI application here.

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