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Downtown Revitalization Initiative

November 21, 2017 - 5:34pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, city of batavia, Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Press release:

A meeting for those wishing to submit information on potential projects for Batavia’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative is scheduled for 2 p.m. next Tuesday (Nov. 28) at City Hall, One Batavia City Centre.

An update on the goals of the DRI will also be provided. Project information submittals are due Dec. 18.

Downtown business and property owners, developers, arts and cultural organizations, and anyone with an interest in investing in Downtown Batavia’s future are invited to attend.

For RFI forms, visit the City of Batavia’s website – www.batavianewyork.com.

November 15, 2017 - 2:16pm
posted by Maria Pericozzi in Downtown Revitalization Initiative, batavia, news, notify.

The first of many committee meetings to develop a plan for the city to put to use its $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award was held Tuesday evening at City Hall.

A group of 20 people representing different areas of the community were asked to be a part of the committee. Ed Flynn, a member of the Planning and Development Committee, said it is a cross section of the community, in terms of businesses, agencies and residents.

“This is an opportunity for the community,” Flynn said. “It is also a responsibility for the community. It’s a lot of money. That’s why we’re putting together a Strategic Investment Plan so that we have some kind of strategy to take that $10 million and make sure there is some kind of impact on the community.”

The six-month schedule for the plan is aggressive, Flynn said. There will be multiple committee meetings, and public meetings before the final draft is submitted.

“We need to push this and get it done by the end of March,” Flynn said.

Batavia was one of 10 communities awarded the $10 million as part of the statewide DRI competition. The goal of the grant is to transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers want to live, work and raise families. The winning communities are awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects to advance the community’s vision for revitalization.

“It’s not just jobs, it’s not just investments, it’s not just public spaces, it's all of those things together that create a vibrant downtown,” Flynn said.

Projects need to be submitted by Dec. 8 to be considered. Flynn said he will hold a Nov. 21 information session for business owners, nonprofit organizations, and others interested, who want to submit a proposal.

While not every idea submitted will be funded by the grant, Flynn said they will look at multiple projects for the 90-acre boundary in Batavia.

“There might be some other projects that we might recommend to not be funded by the grant,” Flynn said. “But they may be useful for the future revitalization of downtown Batavia, so we will keep them in the plan.”

Multiple projects for different places in the community were introduced for Theater 56, Jackson Square, the City Center, and the Masonic Temple.

Projects on the plan should fall into one of four categories: Public improvements, significant private development projects, revolving loans and grants, and branding and marketing.

On Batavia’s application, the project will focus on arts, culture and entertainment, healthy living and wellness, and prosperity for all. The committee members discussed goals they would like to stick to decide what to focus on when choosing projects.

Steve Hyde, the president and chief executive officer of the Genesee County Economic Development Center, said the focus should not be on what will create jobs. 

“What we want is to make these investments to create vibrant spaces and vibrant places,” Hyde said.  “If we can make those investments to do that, the jobs will follow.”

After editing the original vision statement, the committee decided the new statement is, “Batavia is all-in to reshape its urban core by embracing and building upon its rich entrepreneurial history, fostering cultural appreciation and creating a healthy, vibrant community to benefit all.”

Erica O'Donnell, a resident in Batavia, said she is one of those "terrible Millennials," but she would like to see more projects to attract young families with children. 

"We have a unique opportunity, being between Buffalo and Rochester, to draw Millennials here," O'Donnell said. 

The next public meeting has not been scheduled yet but will be posted on the Batavia Downtown Revitalization website along with other updates, here.

November 13, 2017 - 9:18pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The road to craft projects in connection with the Downtown Revitalization Initiative – a “fast track” that leads to the governor’s office in Albany, according to City Manager Jason Molino -- begins in earnest at 4 p.m. Tuesday when a 23-member Local Planning Committee convenes in the Council Board Room at City Hall.

A “who’s who” of City and Genesee County officials along with civic leaders, business owners and agency executives, comprises the LPC, which has the task of appropriating the $10 million that was awarded to the City of Batavia as the winner of the Finger Lakes Region competition.

Eugene Jankowski, City Council president; Steve Hyde, Genesee County Economic Development Center president, and Maria Figurele, executive director, Community Design Center of Rochester, an architecture/design company,.are serving as committee co-chairs.

Members of the committee are as follows:

-- James Sunser, Ed.D., Genesee Community College president;
-- Pier Cipollone, Batavia Development Corporation president;
-- Craig Yunker, managing member, CY Farms LLC;
-- Tammy Hathaway, president, Genesee-Orleans Regional Arts Council;
-- Patrick Burk, Batavia City School Board president;
-- Erik Fix, United Way of Genesee County executive director;
-- Marianne Clattenburg, Genesee County legislator;
-- Tom Turnbull, Genesee County Chamber of Commerce president;
-- John McKenna, president and CEO, Tompkins Bank of Castile;
-- Susie Ott, Commercial Insurance Team Leader, Lawley Insurance;
-- Julia Garver, Genesee YMCA director;
-- John Riter, resident director, Merrill Lynch;
-- Peter Casey, attorney, Del Plato Casey Law Firm;
-- Matt Gray, Eli Fish Brewing Company restaurant entrepreneur;
-- Nathan Varlan, executive director, Batavia Housing Authority;
-- Paul Battaglia, GCEDC chair;
-- Mary Valle, owner, Valle Jewelers;
-- Rev. Marty Macdonald, City Church;
-- John Bookmiller, owner, Java Farm Supply;
-- Dan Ireland, president, United Memorial Medical Center.

The program is administered by the New York State Department of State in coordination with the New York State Division of Homes and Community Renewal.

The meeting is open to public and persons attending will have an opportunity to speak at the end of the meeting, which is scheduled to end around 6 p.m.

Recommendations are expected to be sent to Albany by February 2018.

September 19, 2017 - 11:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Downtown Revitalization Initiative, news, notify.

Local officials are being invited to Batavia City Hall at 1:30 p.m. Thursday where Gov. Andrew Cuomo is expected to make an announcement.

What Cuomo will announce is not revealed in the invitation, but the City of Batavia did submit an application to Cuomo's office for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative contest, which carries a $10 million award for one municipality in each of the state's economic development regions.

While winners have been announced in other regions, the winner of the contest in the Finger Lakes region has not yet been announced.

Local officials cannot discuss the reason for Cuomo's visit.

June 20, 2017 - 9:22am
posted by Mike Pettinella in city of batavia, Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The City of Batavia is "ready to roll" out its presentation to a selection committee after receiving the news that it, once again, has reached the finalist stage in an Empire State Development Downtown Revitalization Initiative competition.

"We're ready to roll," said City Manager Jason Molino this morning, revealing that five city leaders will be representing Batavia on Thursday afternoon in downtown Rochester. "We will make a half-hour presentation, followed by 15 minutes of questions."

Molino said Batavia's presentation will focus on the 88-acre Business Improvement District in three distinct categories:

• Arts, culture & entertainment.

• Healthy living & wellness.

• Prosperity for all.

"It's all about creativity and innovation ... ways to enhance the quality of life," he said.

Molino said the fact that the city has just come through a 15-month Comprehensive Planning process should bolster its chances.

"We had a lot of community input during this time, which has helped develop our process," he said.

At Thursday's interview, Molino will be joined by City Council President Eugene Jankowski, BID Director Beth Kemp, City School Board President Patrick Burk and Batavia Development Corporation Coordinator Julie Pacatte.

Molino said he wasn't aware of what other three cities are finalists but did say that officials of those communities also would be presenting on Thursday.

Word that Batavia is one of four finalists spread quickly this morning. The Batavian found out via a message on Twitter this from City Councilman Adam Tabelski, 

"This is certainly great news for the community -- to be a finalist again," Tabelski said..

City officials filed the formal application for the $10 million award last week.

In 2016, the City of Batavia was a finalist from the Finger Lakes Region but eventually lost out to Geneva.

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