Governor Hochul Announces $200 Million in Funding to Revitalize Downtown Areas in Communities Across New York State
Governor Kathy Hochul today announced $200 million in funding for two major downtown revitalization initiatives: NY Forward, a new program aimed at rejuvenating smaller and rural communities, and Round 6 of the state’s successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative. An educational brochure on both programs was also released today. Governor Hochul announced the funding in Jamaica, Queens at the ribbon-cutting for Greater Nexus, a brand-new $11 million coworking space funded through Jamaica’s previous DRI award and operated by Greater Jamaica Development Corporation in partnership with York College.
“New York’s downtowns are the heart and soul of our communities and regions, and today we’re taking comprehensive action to support them,” Governor Hochul said. “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has ignited a renaissance in these spaces, which are critical to the continued growth of businesses and local economies, and I am proud to support this vital program. As we grow our downtowns, we are proud to launch a new program — NY Forward — that will provide crucial support to New York’s smaller and rural communities to help bring them back to the bustling towns and villages they once were.”
“The DRI program has been successfully revitalizing downtown communities across New York State and with our new NY Forward program, we’re extending that same spirit to our smaller and sometimes forgotten communities to help rejuvenate them,” said Lieutenant Governor Antonio Delgado. “New investments in these critical initiatives will bring back New York’s walkable downtown areas and restore the charm to our smaller villages and hamlets, all with sights set on rebuilding our economy.”
DRI was launched in 2016 to accelerate and bolster the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of the state to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for increased local investments. Led by the Department of State (DOS) with assistance from the Department of Housing and Community Renewal (HCR), Empire State Development (ESD) and the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative “plan-then-act” strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation. The Governor added a new component to DRI this year that allows two or three communities to apply jointly for one award. To date, DRI has awarded a total of $600 million to 59 communities in its first five rounds.
As part of this year’s budget, Governor Hochul announced NY Forward to build on DRI’s momentum. The innovative new program, which is funded through $100 million in this year’s Enacted State Budget, will support a more equitable downtown recovery for New York’s smaller and rural communities with a focus on hamlet and villages. NY Forward is meant serve smaller communities and support local economies that often have a feel and charm that is distinct from larger, metropolitan urban centers funded through DRI.
Like DRI, DOS and an assigned consultant will work with NY Forward communities through a planning and technical assistance process to develop a slate of readily implementable projects, with each REDC nominating the winners. NY Forward differs, however, by providing capacity-building workshops and technical assistance from consultants to assist communities in developing their full applications and throughout the implementation process. NY Forward also offers two funding options for each region—two $4.5 million awards; or one $4.5 million grant and two $2.25 million grants. The similarities and differences between the DRI and NY Forward are further described in a new brochure released today by the Governor.
Applications for NY Forward will launch later this month and winners are expected to be selected later this year.