The City of Oneonta was among the first winners of Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which provides $10 million in funding to assist small cities transform their downtowns into pedestrian-friendly, mixed-use neighbor-hoods. The Strategic Implementation Plan that followed identified an opportunity to catalyze private investment and streetscape improvements through the formation of a of a flexible Downtown Improvement Fund to support property owners and small businesses.
The City chose Delaware Engineering to manage and administer the $2.66 million fund, designed as a regrant program to upgrade downtown signage and facades, and to convert the upper floors of vacant buildings into market-rate apartments.
Delaware created the application and marketing materials, conducted outreach & managed publicity, drafted design guidelines and scoring rubrics, and provided support to the Project Selection Committee during its review more than 80 applications.
More than 40 applications were ultimately chosen to receive a total of $2.3 million in funding. For each of the funded projects, Delaware created scopes of work, performed environmental review, obtained SHPO approval, drafted grant agreements, and coordinated the bidding process. Delaware is now in the process of monitoring construction, performing final inspections, and working with City staff to arrange for short-term loans for several businesses, and managing the final grant disbursement process.
In all, the City expects approximately 35 new units of market-rate housing to be created as a result of this Fund, and dozens of facades to be renovated throughout the Downtown.
Grant monies from this important economic development project are expected to be fully expended by the end of 2021.