Utica DRI winnings won’t be seen instantly

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UTICA–The city’s $10 million state grant to revitalize downtown won’t be instantly evident, and its use involves public input.

Utica’s application to New York State for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding opportunity included a list of nearly $20 million worth of projects.

The city’s DRI application included the proposal to slim Genesee Street from four lanes to two, to use existing city parking spaces due-south of the Stanley Theatre for ‘Artspace’, and for ongoing renovation projects in downtown buildings.

“The Utica plan was really very, very smart,” New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

Governor Andrew Cuomo on Nov. 12 in Utica.

A planning process is in place for the $10 million to be dispersed.

“There will be a local planning committee that is put together that will put out…” “…a public call for additional projects within the DRI boundaries. That local planning committee will also then go through the projects and incorporate a public outreach process in order to comb that list down to roughly $10 million worth of projects,” Thomas said.

The first public meeting will occur in December or early 2020, Thomas estimated.

Despite the public comment opportunity, who makes the final call where funds will be directed?

“There’s a planning consultant that will assist with the local planning committee, and work with the mayor and other state agencies. It will be a collaborative process,” Thomas said.

Sliver of Utica’s DRI ‘targeted areas’ proposed for 2019 DRI funding.

The six to nine-month process to determine priority projects will likely occur through the summer of 2020.

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