Getting creative for grants

GLOVERSVILLE — Officials working to develop the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative state grant application plan to share information and gather input from the public online this year as measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus make the possibility of holding public forums unlikely.

Downtown Development Specialist James Hannahs on Friday briefed the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth Board of Directors on early steps to prepare the city’s DRI application working with city officials and Lisa Nagle, principal of Elan Planning, Design and Landscape Architecture.

The Common Council during the April 14 meeting approved a resolution authorizing the city to execute a contract with Elan for the preparation of the city’s DRI grant application. Under the agreement Elan will bill the city based on an hourly fee schedule for contributing staff positions. Mayor Vincent DeSantis estimated the fee to Elan will come in at roughly $10,000 to $12,000.

This will be the city’s fifth attempt to secure the $10 million state grant award through the state Regional Economic Development Council. The DRI program each year invests $10 million each into 10 downtown neighborhoods across the state with one downtown from each region selected. Award selection is based on submitted strategic investment and implementation plans for the funds and their potential to advance the community’s revitalization.

Although funding for the DRI program was included in the state budget again this year, application deadlines have not yet been announced. City officials have received unofficial word that submissions through the Consolidated Funding Application process will be due as normally scheduled at the end of May, leading Hannahs and the city to dive into preparations.

“We’re going full force into the DRI,” said Hannahs. “I’m working very closely with Lisa Nagle at Elan to help structure our application.”

Normally while developing a DRI application, the city hosts public information sessions that allow community members to take a first look at the vision for the application and potential projects the city will seek funding for. Residents are asked to provide feedback and suggestions that will be used to revise and shape the city’s final application.

“That’s probably not going to happen this year. We’re probably going to do it virtually, which is great, then people can do it on their own time,” said Hannahs.

With Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s stay at home order to slow the spread of the coronavirus continuing to at least May 15, Hannahs said the city will provide information on the city’s application and gather feedback online this year.

Hannahs has already prepared and launched a website to host information on the application as it is developed. The website currently features a survey where residents can provide early suggestions for the application with additional information and a list of potential projects to be released in the coming weeks.

“A really important first step into getting a really great successful plan is getting public input,” said Hannahs. “We want as much public input as possible.”

For more information on the development of the city’s DRI application or to participate in the survey visit cityofgloversvilledri.com.

By Patricia Older

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