Remember when the City of Oneonta was awarded $10 million from New York State as part of a Downtown Revitalization Initiative? It took a while to receive the funding and then, in turn, see the physical improvements made to business facades including awnings and signs, but you can definitely see the results at this point in Oneonta's downtown.

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There is going to be another round of DRI funding from New York State awarded to certain communities, across 10 different regions in the state and during this 5th round of financial awards, the Governor's office is handing out even more funding to assist community downtowns. During the previous rounds, including the one that Oneonta won, $10 million was awarded to one winner per economic development region. Now there will be either two communities winning $10 million in each region or there could be a single winner getting $20 million in a given region.

The reason for the increase in funding, according to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, chair of the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils is, "Vibrant downtowns and Main Streets are vital for every community across New York to thrive. As we launch the fifth round of our Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we will continue to promote smart growth strategies that advance transit-oriented development, spur economic and cultural investment, and give small businesses a much-needed boost."

How does a community win such a financial boost from the DRI? A municipality must first develop a strategic plan that clearly demonstrates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and provides a list of city projects that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization for that downtown and realize the community's vision for the downtown.

Some DRI funded projects that people in the Oneonta area can look forward to seeing in the near future:
- Market Street Streetscape, Water Street Boardwalk, and Muller Plaza Passage.
- a new public transit hub with a different location than where it currently is.
- affordable new housing in Downtown Oneonta: The Lofts on Dietz (mixed-use building currently under construction) and remodeled apartments in the Ford Block building located just off the Muller Plaza.

To learn more about Oneonta's DRI and how the funds are being used, visit www.oneonta.ny.us.

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