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Geneva’s downtown revitalization update issued by GNRC

There were over 20 hours of public meetings last week to review the first round of priority projects for Geneva’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Community members came to focus groups, storefront hours, the Local Planning Committee (LPC) meeting, and to the public meeting.

Each of the projects that will be selected to be in the strategic investment plan are subject to meeting objectives identified in three key documents: the City’s application, City’s Comprehensive Plan, and the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Strategic Plan: Accelerating Our Transformation. These projects also have to meet goals associated with estimated job growth, capacity to leverage funding, community benefits, demonstrate demand, be economically feasible, and have the ability to provide a sustainable impact.

The DRI is not fully funding most projects; rather the funds are going to be used to leverage other public and private funds to ensure a widespread, exponential impact. A public meeting was held November 15th, and attended by nearly 100 local residents and stakeholders who were able to literally put their money where their mouth was! When attendees signed into the meeting, they were given “Geneva Bucks” in the amount of $10 million to “spend” on projects identified by consultants through previous public meetings.

This meeting was well attended on a very cold, winter night. There were just over 80 people in the room at the Ramada ready to spend the $10 million.

“While the DRI grant provides an opportunity to realize only a handful of projects, it’s reassuring to see that our community has no shortage of good ideas! It was exciting to walk around and look at the different projects under consideration and imagine the dramatic improvements to be made in Geneva over the next few years. I found that the preliminary artists’ renderings helped me better understand the vision behind some of the project language. It was so hard to choose when it seems that any of the proposed options would make a positive impact on our community!” says attendee Sam Cappiello, resident of Genesee Park in the Historic North neighborhood.

Project Categories:

Connectivity and Transportation talks about possibilities of improvements to 5&20. There were options to slow the traffic down when approaching downtown areas to assist the traffic to come into our downtown.

Public Realm and Open Space suggests streetscape enhancements and gateway improvements. Some of these improvements would be benches, more convenient trash receptacles, street trees, enhanced sidewalks, planters, decorative pavement, and more pedestrian enhancements. There was also a rendering of a new gateway sign as possibility on Exchange Street. In addition, ideas such as Bicentennial Park improvements, a creation of city square on Seneca Street, enhancements to the existing tunnel connecting downtown with Seneca Lake, marina development, beach development, and welcome center improvements were brought forth.

Economic Opportunity projects outlined the need for better public transit using a possible shuttle services and expanding our existing transit lines, creating a small business incubation revolving fund, developing a workforce transformation program for jobs within the food and craft beverage sector; adding a more robust and accessible public market; and the establishment of a resiliency center.

Private Investment is also very important to the DRI process. Projects presented included a façade improvement program; a downtown adaptive reuse fund for larger building projects, and a downtown senior housing project.

Arts and Culture included Smith Opera House improvements and a public art program.

Food and Beverage Innovation District projects showed plans for a food and craft beverage production incubation facility, a workforce transformation program, a capital fund to support equipment purchases, and marketing collateral for the district.

Some additional projects that didn’t fit into these categories are: Downtown broadband infrastructure and administrative support to oversee DRI projects.

The State’s goal for all ten DRI communities is to create downtowns with:
A strong sense of place, diverse new businesses, high-paying jobs, skilled workers, arts and culture attractions, a diverse population, affordable housing, enhanced local property tax base, and amenities to support and enhance downtown living and quality of life.

More Opportunities to Hear From You

Throughout this process, we have received over 300 pages of comments from our community! You can still submit feedback by using the DRI website: www.ny.gov.downtown-revitalization-intatiative/finger-lakes-genevaor contact Sage Gerling at sgerling@geneva.ny.us or 315-828-6585.

Next storefront hours are January 3, 10, 17, and 24 from noon to 7:00pm. Information on all of these specific projects will be up at the storefront with the consultants’ mock ups for review and comment by interested stakeholders on what you would prioritize as most important impacts.

The next Local Planning Committee meets on January 30th at 6pm (location to be determined) and the public is welcome to come and listen.

Next Public Meeting is January 31 at 6pm (location to be determined, please come participate and share your feedback.

The final Local Planning Committee meeting is February 22nd. At the end of February, Geneva’s DRI Strategic Plan goes to the Governor’s office for approval.

The above is a republished press release from The Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center and was not written by FingerLakes1.com. Click here to submit press releases, community announcements, or news tips to the FingerLakes1.com team. Newsroom inquiries can be sent by clicking here.

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