Downtown strategy set

Downtown Gloversville on North Main Street in Gloversville Monday. (The Leader-Herald/Bill Trojan)

GLOVERSVILLE — The city will be going forward with plans for a Downtown Development Strategy with LaBella Associates of Rochester.

Ed Flynn, Director of Planning at LaBella, presented the outline for the planning of a downtown development strategy during the March 28 meeting of the council.

Flynn said the downtown strategy scope will include:

∫ The discovery, vision and market analysis of downtown. The plan will also define what downtown is, an item that will help with future grant applications.

∫ The design documents and planning. This will include building plans for three to five buildings, depending on the size of the properties. He said this will include renderings, plans for interior layout, cost estimates and limited environmental plans. A physical master plan will be included in this.

∫ Promoting downtown. Flynn said ideas for this include a developers forum showing available sites, and a branding campaign to show downtown.

The council approved a resolution hiring LaBella to do the work with a cost not to exceed $99,500. According to LaBella, they will seek a $20,000 grant to lower the city’s cost for the services.

Insight Architecture, which specializes in downtown architecture projects and engineering firm Creighton Manning will team with LaBella on the project.

Flynn said that unlike many other communities he has worked with, Gloversville’s downtown is still intact, with many historic buildings surviving the Urban Renewal plans most communities had in the 1960s and 1970s. He said the compact streets, walkable areas and streetscaping are also helpful for future plans.

“You have the bones to really start a good downtown development strategy,” Flynn said.

Flynn said the existing of the Gloversville Downtown Business Improvement District and Gloversville Economic Development Corp. along with the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth being in downtown are helpful for a plan.

Partnerships between the city, county, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth, and the Downtown Development Specialist Jennifer Jennings, work for the city’s advantage as well.

Flynn said the planning will include putting together information for anything an investor would look at when considering a new development. He said that will include building renovation plans, cost estimates, consumer data and other information.

“I’m sure there are investors in the Albany area and Saratoga that are looking for new opportunities for development in this area, and I think you’ve got some great buildings in this area,” Flynn said.

Flynn said during the planning, there will be a steering committee made up of city officials, economic development agencies, property and business owners. He said he will also seek Empire State Development Corporation officials for participation in the committee. Downtown agencies who don’t won’t to be on the steering committee will also be sought for input.

Flynn said there will be two surveys: one for property owners and one for the public.

The public survey will double as a shoppers survey to see what the public thinks about downtown, businesses they would like to see and business development strategy they would like to see.

There will also be a public meeting to show the results of the plan before it is finalized. The entire plan from start to finish is expected to take around a year.

“By this time next year, you’ll have some projects and some information to apply for additional consolidated funding applications,” Flynn said.

Third Ward Councilman Vincent DeSantis said this work could help the city with an application for a potential $10 million downtown grant the state is considering put forward for a second year.

“The idea the city is invested in the plan has got to go in that application to show the city is moving forward,” DeSantis said.

Ron Peters of the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth said he has had the opportunity to review the proposal and thinks it is a great plan.

“The CRG is 100 percent behind it. I think that their efforts will bring downtown Gloversville to the next plateau and I fully endorse it,” Peters said.

City resident Pat Vanslyke said she is in favor of the plan, and is glad to see it happening.

“I for one, would like to be a part of whatever the public has a part in doing,” she said.

Kerry Minor can be reached at [email protected]

By Patricia Older

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