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Excitement and energy often turns to “hurry up and wait” after announcement of municipal grant monies

by WayneTimes.com
April 6, 2024

When a large grant, especially for renewal, renovation and new construction is announced, the public and the recipient are ecstatic.  Residents are thrilled to have new businesses and venues on the horizon, and are hopeful for  their community’s future.

Too often, the excitement wanes and frustration sets in, as red tape, construction costs and planning place the projects later and later on the calendar.

The $4.5 Million NY Forward grant awarded to Macedon was announced with fanfare for the former Village (now hamlet) area. Old, deteriorating buildings and facades were given hopes of new life. Plans to ‘invigorate and enliven downtowns in New York’s smaller and rural communities’ was the catalyst Macedon has been striving for. The Town of Macedon has been offered an opportunity for new housing, businesses, restaurants, tourist attractions and community services.  "Projects are projected to re-use, rehabilitate, and improve public spaces; and enhance streetscapes to increase walkability and interconnectivity,” according to the State in granting the funds. The announcement came in February of this year. No shovels in the ground or paint and spackle are scheduled yet. But hopes and plans continue.

The $10 Million Grant proposals for the Village of Newark seemed a little further ahead with an over 100 page presentation with gorgeous renderings of new buildings and updated housing.

The money is there, the months and years of planning were worth it, but folks want to see the final vision... now.

In the case of the Newark DRI (Downtown Revitalization Initiative), Mayor Jonathan Taylor knows that waiting is not easy. “Construction and borrowing costs can change daily. Before construction begins, even the grandiose renderings and descriptions may be scaled down, but this is how things go.”  He continues to be excited for the Village transformations. According to the mission statement for Newark’s DRI, “a highly collaborative, multi-agency effort mobilizes the resources available from state agencies, tapping into their expertise, technical assistance, and project management skills as necessary. A Strategic Investment Plan is developed, and positive momentum continues well after the plan is done and projects are awarded. The process continues leveraging public and private investments that, in turn, create a self-perpetuating cycle of revitalization.”

In other words, it takes time to bring a vision to fruition.

The Village of Newark’s projects were identified as: (1) Constructing the Newark Canalside Hotel - a 60,000 sq. ft., 98 room full service hotel/conference center; (2) Newark Health & Wellness Center - 90,000 sq. ft. building for multi-use sports, recreation and health center; (3) Update of Coventry Gardens - converting a 90,000 sq. ft. space into 95 apartments and community space; (4) Revitalizing the Canal Port - improving the port with a promenade, amphitheater, farmers market, kayak/canoe launch, and upgrades in utilities; (5) Greene Suites - constructing 4 short-term rentals; (6) Main Street Beer Garden - 900 square feet outdoor beer garden; (7) Resuscitate the old Newark Hospital building into mixed income apartments.

Funding sources have been identified as DRI Grant monies, ARPA funds awarded to the Village from the State, private sponsorships, Economic Development grants, a Capital Campaign, and Bank Financing. 

There is usually a 5 year “suggested deadline” for the DRI grant money to be utilized, but Mayor Taylor pointed out that  several other municipalities who were awarded these large grants, have yet to complete their final projects, five to six years later.

The good news is that your local municipalities are listening and doing their best to invigorate your communities. Good things come to those who wait.   

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