$10M DRI projects for city revealed

Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul, center left, and Amsterdam Mayor Michael Villa, center right, announced the 15 projects to receive the funding from the $10 million Downtown Revitalization grant on Thursday at Riverlink Park. (The Leader-Herald/Briana O’Hara)

AMSTERDAM — State Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced 15 projects on Thursday that will be awarded funding through the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant for the city.

“What was once home, is now home again. My Amsterdam,” Hochul said. “I think about that as the theme, but I also want to revise it slightly. What was once a glorious past is now a glorious future and that is what we’re talking about here today as we make the announcement of $10 million of projects that are now funded by the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.”

Prior to Hochul revealing which projects would be getting funding, Mayor Michael Villa thanked everyone who have been major supporters in Amsterdam and who have put hard work and effort throughout the DRI process.

“It’s certainly been a team effort,” Villa said. “No one person can stand here and accomplish the things that we have over the past three and a half years without having a talented team, a great team, and I just want to say thank you once again. God bless you and God bless a great city.”

The city was announced the Mohawk Valley winner of the state’s $10 million DRI grant in September.

Since then, officials formed a a Local Planning Committee that held several public workshops in which they selected 20 potential projects to be awarded the funding through the DRI.

Hochul announced that 15 of those projects will be receiving funding and those projects include:

∫ $2.5 million to go towards community recreation centers.

“What we lack is a connection to the north side and south side,” Hochul said. “What we’re trying to do is repair that and make the entire community feel as one.”

The city will rehabilitate 149 E. Main St. as a community center.

∫ $1.8 million will go toward renovating and expanding the Amsterdam Free Library.

“Many communities are blessed to have beautiful libraries,” Hochul said. “In the heart of downtown, [the library] will expand to have a business incubator, STEM education facility and multi-use community rooms.”

∫ $1 million to rehabilitate the former Key Bank into a mixed-used development.

The development will include ground floor commercial space and upper story residential units overlooking downtown and the waterfront.

∫ $1 million to create a a Gateway to the Downtown District.

“We’re going to create an attractive and defined gateway intersection at Church Street and East Main Street,” Hochul said.

∫ $600,000 will go toward a Downtown Improvement Fund.

That money will create a matching grant fund for interior and exterior building improvements.

“This will promote projects, mixed-uses, create jobs and enhance community revitalization,” Hochul said.

∫ $547,000 will go toward creating public open space on Route 5.

This project will include signage, landscaping and lighting.

“We’re going to remove and re-purpose a portion of Route 5 to make a public open space and what this will do is create recreation opportunities,” Hochul said.

∫ $500,000 will go toward creating a Marketing and Wayfinding Campaign.

“It also is so important we give you the resources to market,” Hochul said.

She said this will help will tourism and find marketing opportunities for the city.

∫ $323,000 to create a community dog park.

“What’s exciting about this is location,” Hochul said. “This is going to connect the waterfront to the Empire State Trail.”

∫ $312,000 will go toward making the Southside a viable, walkable community through the creation of a boardwalk.

∫ $288,728 will go toward strengthening the Chuctanunda Creek Trail’s downtown presence.

∫ $275,000 to renovate the Samuel Sweet Canal Store.

∫ $93,000 to relocate the Amsterdam Skate Park.

Hochul said this will create a safe place for children to skateboard.

“When you give them a place that is cool, the state-of-art place, a place to gather, the businesses are happy because they’re not up and down the streets and it’s a safer place for them to recreate,” she said.

∫ $60,000 will help create a waterfront entertainment destination.

This project will include a new boat dock, boat lifts and storage for a water ski show business that is relocating to the Amsterdam waterfront.

∫ $50,000 will go toward establishing design guidelines to create a cohesive downtown.

This project will enhance the downtown.

Villa said he is “excited.”

“We’re not sitting back just accepting this, we have 13 CFA applications, so we’re looking to support the projects that are out there and expand them and continue that growth that we’re seeing,” Villa said.

By Josh Bovee

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