At the end of July, Governor Cuomo came to Auburn and announced that our community was awarded $10m for transformative downtown projects. This award is part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), which is in its third year.  Each year, communities around New York submit applications to be considered for this funding. These applications define a target area and a vision for that target area, as well as identify potential projects that could help to achieve that vision. While the process is still being developed for Auburn’s DRI, there are some informational resources available to help everyone understand the program and the path forward.

Overall, each DRI community has a slightly different experience. However, there are certain things we know will happen. The State assigned Bergman Associates, who also worked with the City of Auburn on the Auburn SPARKS Brownfield Opportunity Area initiative, as Auburn’s consulting firm. Working with Bergmann and State representatives, we will be establishing a Local Development Committee to guide the process. The process, which will include numerous opportunities for public engagement and feedback along the way, must accomplish all of the following:

  • Confirm the vision for the target area
  • Identify goals and strategies for accomplishing the vision
  • Identify projects (some of which will be from the original application, some of which will not)
  • Seek public feedback on the vision, goals and projects
  • Generate and submit a DRI Strategic Investment Plan

We anticipate this process to occur between September 2018 and March 2019. The State will then review the DRI Strategic Investment Plan and make a final decision regarding which projects will receive funding. In the past, the final project lists were announced in late spring or early summer. While there may be a couple of projects that are able to get started in 2019, most won’t pick up steam until 2020. But I am sure the wait will be well worth it!

In the meantime, keep an eye out for opportunities to provide your input on the final plan due in March 2019.

Tracy Verrier is the Executive Director of the Cayuga Economic Development Agency and Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce.
Image of Downtown Auburn courtesy Matt Champlin.