The 15 members of Gloversville’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Local Planning Committee have been approved by the state, and the committee’s first meeting has been set to take place virtually on Feb. 2 at 3 p.m.
The co-chairs are Mayor Vince DeSantis and Wally Hart, the division director of community and business development for Lexington ARC. Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce President Mark Kilmer will also have a leadership role with the committee representing the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council.
It was DeSantis that nominated most of the members of the committee pending the state’s approval.
“I think it’s a very good group, a diverse group of people from the community,” he said. “We have the officials we have to have on it, and we’re getting quite a bit of guidance from our consultants [Elan Planning] and also from the state Department of State, so I’m happy with it.”
Gloversville has been working on projects with Elan Planning & Design from Saratoga Springs since 2019. One of the consulting firm’s founding members Lisa Nagle has already worked with the city on its Local Waterfront Revitalization plan and its Brownfield Opportunity Area plan.
The job of the planning committee is to solicit community input, then vote to finalize a list of potential economic development projects to be submitted to the state for partial funding from the $10 million grant Gloversville was awarded in December.
These are the other members approved by New York state to serve on Gloversville’s Local Planning Committee:
• 1st Ward Councilwoman Marcia Weiss
• Geoff Peck, Gloversville Planning Board president and vice president of population health for Nathan Littauer Hospital
• David Halloran, superintendent of the Gloversville Enlarged School District
• Ron Peters, Fulton County Center for Regional Growth
• Jenni Mazur, Gloversville City Clerk and chair of the Recreation Commission
• Christine Pesses, city resident
• Kevin Chamberlain, found/owner of “Upstate Coffee”
• Michael Medina, owner of Fulton County Barbershop
• LeShawn Hawkins, founder of the nonprofit “I can Breathe and I will Speak”
• Janelle Krause, president of the Glove Cities Arts Alliance
• Aya Mustafa, city resident
• Greg Truckenmiller, Fulton Montgomery Community College president
DeSantis said the first meeting as to be virtual due to too much local spread of COVID-19, but he’s hopeful that the committee will be able to have in-person meetings within a month or so.
“The first meeting will be on Facebook Live, and it will be recorded,” the mayor said. “People will be able to ask questions in real-time and, even though it will be on Zoom, we’re trying to make it as public as we possibly can. Also, it will be recorded so people can even make comments after the meeting is over.”
Gloversville’s successful DRI application included a list of 18 potential economic development projects, but the newly-approved group of 15 is not bound to supporting all of those ideas for the final list submitted to the state. The committee can, and likely will, choose additional projects submitted during its “open call” for new economic development ideas.
DeSantis explained more about the planning committee process in December during an interview with the Leader-Herald.
“This process will go on for several months,” he said in December. “And, even if people aren’t proposing a project, we really want people to comment on the proposals, and comment on the discussion, and they can do that either in real time, or if they can’t do that in real time, either in person or virtually. They can comment through email or via a Facebook comment after viewing the video recording.”