Governor Hochul Announces Dunkirk as the $10 Million Western New York Winner of Sixth-Round Downtown Revitalization Initiative

Governor Hochul Announces Dunkirk as the $10 Million Western New York Winner of Sixth-Round Downtown Revitalization Initiativ

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the City of Dunkirk will receive $10 million in funding as the Western New York winner of the sixth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. For DRI Round 6, each of the state's 10 economic development regions are being awarded $10 million, to make for a total state commitment of $100 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods.

"We are writing a new chapter of opportunity and prosperity for Western New York - prioritizing investments that will make the region a better place to live and visit," Governor Hochul said. "This funding will transform Dunkirk by activating the city's waterfront, creating inclusive workforce housing and expanding economic development opportunities. We will continue to invest in Western New York's revitalization efforts, which will help bring a renewed sense of hope to its communities."

The DRI serves as a component of the State's economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract businesses, jobs and economic and housing diversity. Like past DRI rounds, each selected community will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have transformative potential and leverage further private and public investments. The Department of State will then award DRI funds to selected projects with the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community's vision.

Dunkirk
Dunkirk seeks to harness its connection to Lake Erie to attract new investment, activate its waterfront and serve as a conduit for redevelopment of its historic business district. New investment combined with past investments will create a robust environment for the rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of historic downtown buildings and infill development that incorporates mixed-income residential opportunities. Dunkirk's vision is to amplify the city's unique sense of place with a genuine and authentic experience that will be catalytic for future organic growth and will foster development that is inclusive while embracing its strong heritage and ethnic diversity. Through this vision, Dunkirk will meet the needs of its diverse and strong manufacturing base as well as its future digital and new biopharma employers.

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and competitive review process of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region and considered all the criteria below before recommending Dunkirk as the nominee:

  • Downtown is compact, with well-defined boundaries;
  • Downtown can capitalize on prior, or catalyze future private and public investment;
  • Recent or impending job growth within, or close to, the downtown that can attract workers, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;
  • Downtown is an attractive and livable community for diverse populations;
  • Municipality already embraces, or has the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life;
  • Municipality conducted open and robust community engagement resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives;
  • Municipality has the local capacity to manage the DRI process; and
  • Municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for near-term implementation with an infusion of DRI funds.

Dunkirk has been awarded $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize its downtown neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth following the local planning process. Dunkirk joins the communities of Jamestown, Olean, Lockport, Niagara Falls Bridge District, North Tonawanda and Buffalo's Broadway-Fillmore Neighborhood, which were Western New York's winners in the first five DRI rounds.

Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosa said, "The City of Dunkirk is so very grateful to Governor Kathy Hochul for the New York State investment in the revitalization of Downtown Dunkirk. The DRI will provide funding to leverage prior investment in our Lake Erie waterfront and establish Dunkirk as a regional destination. We will continue the investment up Central Avenue that will reverberate throughout Dunkirk. Thank you Governor Hochul for giving Dunkirk the support our transformative vision that will make a difference."

About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative was created in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of the state to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment. Led by the Department of State with assistance from Empire State Development, Homes and Community Renewal and NYSERDA, the DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative "plan-then-act" strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation and results in compact, walkable downtowns that are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the State's bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles.

In the first five years of the program, the state committed $600 million investing in 59 downtowns ripe for revitalization and that have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity and opportunity. Participating communities are nominated by the state's 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown's potential for transformation. Each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community's vision for revitalization and leverage additional private and public investments.

 

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