SCHENECTADY, NY (WRGB) — In 2019, Schenectady was awarded $10 million for New York State's Downtown Revitalization initiative. Now about a year and a half later, the governor has announced which projects that funding will go towards.
The Governor's office sent out the following list of 13 projects:
- Transform Underutilized Blocks Near State and Clinton Streets - $2,750,000: Transformative redevelopment of three underutilized city blocks into a mixed-use development featuring 90-plus apartments, 5,000-square-feet of retail space, 50,000 square feet of medical office space, and parking through adaptive reuse of existing buildings and new construction.
- Renovate Historic Structures for Adaptive Reuse, Alchemy Urban Playground - $300,000: Renovate two buildings on Erie Boulevard to create four art studios for local artists, a retail gallery, an event space, and two maker/ training spaces. Focus on skills training for minorities and youth.
- Improve Facades and Structures Along Key Corridors - $600,000: Facade improvement fund will enhance existing buildings in three corridors including Lower State Street, Lafayette Street, and Little Italy.
- Complete Building Improvements for SEAT Workforce Training Center - $428,000: Complete façade and site improvements to finish an extensive building renovation that will house the SEAT Workforce Training Center for Young Adults.
- Renovate Former Cohn Building to Create New Retail and Office Space - $425,000: Renovate a vacant building into a mixed-use space with ground floor retail and second floor of office and create 28 new parking spaces nearby.
- Extend North Jay Street and Improve Maxon Road - $2,000,000: Extend North Jay Street from its dead-end northeast to the intersection of Nott Street and Maxon Road, creating a new connection between downtown and Mohawk Harbor.
- Install New Lighting Along Clinton St and North Broadway - $875,000: Replace existing street lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting capable of also supporting 'smart city' technology. Clinton Street between State Street and Franklin Street and North Broadway between State Street and Union Street.
- Extend the Alco Heritage Trail and Construct the Empire State Trail Gateway - $760,000: Extend the Alco Heritage Trail from its existing terminus at River Street to Front Street Park. Install an informational kiosk and small plaza area at Mohawk Harbor as a gateway to the New York State Empire Trail that provides wayfinding and tourism information.
- Improve City Hall Square and Jay Street Traffic Circulation - $425,000: Public square Improvements around city hall and conversion of Jay Street to two-way traffic between city hall and Union Street.
- Reopen and Upgrade the Alco Tunnel Trail - $350,000: Improve an existing tunnel with lighting and connecting paths to allow for pedestrian and cyclist connections between Erie Boulevard and Jay Street/Mohawk Hudson Bikeway.
- Install Public Art Throughout Downtown - $287,000: Multi-faceted public art initiative to create and install murals, interactive art pieces, sculptural seating, and a historic statue.
- Upgrade the Jay Street Pedestrian Walkway - $250,000: Public space, lighting, and drainage improvements to support local businesses along this popular walkway.
- Improve Signage and Wayfinding - $250,000: Install new signage to guide residents and visitors through the study area, highlighting historical and cultural destinations.
Schenectady Mayor Gary McCarthy says COVID caused a slowdown, because a lot of activities were shutdown, and the state was being conservative with their funding. He says getting this money will help get the projects moving and bring some of them to completion. He says they're all in different stages -some have design work done, but are not ready for construction, and others are stuck in the middle.
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Mayor McCarthy says the big goal is connectivity. These projects will help create and update a trail or corridor from the Mohawk Harbor, to Rivers Casino, to Proctors Theatre and downtown. He says this helps clean up the neighborhoods and make the area more walkable and bikeable.
"It's the activity that's here that shows Schenectady has opportunity for homeownership, there's opportunities for business, an atmosphere where we want people to come visit us. And that spurs other economic development, people look at opportunities they haven't looked at before, and that leverages a lot of private investment that's happening."
Mayor McCarthy says this initiative will help keep momentum going in Schenectady. And he'll continue applying for funding.