ROME — Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Rome Thursday to announce the city will receive $10 million in funding and investments as the Mohawk Valley winner of the second round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
"This investment is the latest step in our strategic efforts to help the Mohawk Valley’s economy grow and prosper," Cuomo said. "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative engages local communities and creates new opportunities for growth to attract new businesses and young people and help downtowns across New York thrive."
As in the first round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, one municipality from each of the state’s 10 economic development regions will be selected as a $10 million winner, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities identify catalytic downtown projects to boost the local economy.
Rome now joins the City of Oneonta, which was the Mohawk Valley region’s winner in the first Downtown Revitalization Initiative round.
The Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council’s reviewed Rome’s proposal for downtown revitalization, together with the proposals from other participant communities from the Mohawk Valley region before recommending Rome as its nominee for winner.
The downtown area targeted for Downtown Revitalization Initiative investment in the City of Rome is rich in commercial, cultural, transportation and recreational assets that support a vibrant and walkable place within the city, according to a news release from Cuomo’s office.
The catalytic projects that will be implemented by the initiative will further the job growth in advanced manufacturing, cyber technology, unmanned systems and craft food & beverage manufacturing that are is already transforming the region, according to the release.
"I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the potential that lives right here in the Mohawk Valley, and investing to help that potential grow. This funding will help foster our small business economy, bringing the City of Rome to the highest height. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to make Rome’s bright economic future even brighter," Rome Mayor Jacqueline Izzo said in a statement.
The city plans to further development and inspire innovation, facilitate residential repatriation, promote arts-based businesses, encourage alternate transportation and celebrate diversity, according to the release. With a boost from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Rome will provide the ecosystem necessary to attract and retain young professionals and their families, according to the release.
"Downtown Rome already has the ingredients to be a magnet attracting people who want to work, live and raise their family in a vibrant urban area. This funding will help the city and its partners to harness those assets, and further revitalize the center city area to develop quality housing, encourage new enterprises to invest in the area, and draw more visitors," state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D-Utica, said in a statement.
Rome will now begin the process of developing a strategic investment plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million grant. A local planning committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners.
The strategic investment plan for downtown Rome will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation, according to the release.
"As a former mayor of Rome, I know firsthand the challenges small cities face across the state. That is why this critical funding is so important. It will help Rome continue to transform into a vibrant community and help to revitalize the city. I appreciate Governor Cuomo for recognizing the importance of investing in cities like Rome. These projects will help position the city for a bright and exciting future and will make it a better place for its hard-working residents, families and business owners," state Senator Joseph Griffo, R-Rome, said in a statement.