Community Leaders React to $10M for Downtown Oswego

A huge crowd was on hand Thursday to applaud Gov. Cuomo's big announcement at the conference center in the Port City. (Photo by Bill Foley)

A huge crowd was on hand Thursday to applaud Gov. Cuomo's big announcement at the conference center in the Port City. (Photo by Bill Foley)

A huge crowd was on hand Thursday to applaud Gov. Cuomo's big announcement at the conference center in the Port City. (Photo by Bill Foley)
A huge crowd was on hand Thursday to applaud Gov. Cuomo’s big announcement at the conference center in the Port City. (Photo by Bill Foley)

OSWEGO, NY – Governor Andrew Cuomo made a trip to Oswego (July 14) to formally announce the city’s status as a Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding winner in the Central New York region.

As a winner of this funding, Oswego will receive ten million dollars to use as means to revamp the downtown area of the city, one of ten overall winners out of 122 total applications throughout each region of the state.

Oswego, one of four municipalities in the CNY region to apply was selected for the “smart application” the city submitted, according to Governor Cuomo.

Mayor of Oswego, William Barlow Jr., referred to as “one of the youngest, but also one of the best in the state” by Governor Cuomo, was prideful of the application the city had developed and was overjoyed it had been selected.

“Wow, I was just ecstatic,” he told Oswego County Today. “A lot of hard work was put into the application. We needed to make sure that everyone looking at the application and the governor understood how much energy and potential this city has. I think we did a good job.”

Pleased, and ambitious to get underway with progressing further, he added “Let’s hope things keep moving forward, we have to keep the momentum going.”

Kevin Gardener, chair of the county legislature addressed some of the developing projects in the city that aim to do just that, keep the momentum going.

“We’re hoping several things follow. There’s the National Marine Sanctuary and Fort Ontario/Safe Haven moving toward national park status. There are a lot of things coming up and those are just two of them. Oswego County has a lot going on. There is some stuff that’s not working as well as we’d like but we’re addressing those issues, as well. The governor believes in us, the state believes in us,” he said.

As for the DRI winning funds specifically, he said “This is great. This is great news for Oswego (city) and great news for Oswego County. It’ll revitalize and refresh Oswego; this is what we need, exactly what we need. If we do things right it will start a domino effect of more positive energy for our area.”

Also present at the governor’s announcement, State Senator Patty Ritchie addressed the impact such a large investment will have for the Oswego and surrounding communities.

“From the renovation of Hotel Syracuse, to attracting top talent and big business, state investment in our region is leveraging important growth. With this investment, we are maximizing our potential and ensuring Oswego remains an economically viable city. This is a bright moment for our city and a major step toward encouraging businesses to relocate to Oswego, and attract visitors to come, shop and discover what makes our region so special. I thank the Governor for his leadership and I look forward to working together to move this region forward,” Senator Ritchie said in a press release.

Although unable to attend the announcement, Assemblyman Will Barclay shared his thoughts on the impact of ten million dollars funding to the Oswego downtown area as well.

“I am thrilled Oswego will receive this funding. This will enable Mayor Barlow and city leaders the opportunity to invest in downtown and along the picturesque waterfront to create jobs, attract tourists, and improve the quality of life for residents. I am confident the city will make the most of this award and leverage this grant to the betterment of the local economy. Further, I am pleased that Oswego County received such an award and I look forward to seeing the planned development be built,” Assemblyman Barclay said in a press release.

Oswego beat out three other applications for the DRI funding in the CNY region, the closest competitor coming from the neighboring city of Fulton.

“I’m happy they got it,” said Fulton Mayor, Ronald Woodward Sr. “I mean, Fulton of course would have liked to get it, but I think Oswego is a beautiful city, they’ve got some good things going on there as well. I really think any time the money comes in to the area, it’s good for everyone. And I hope the governor can help keep the nuke plant open too, that’s very important for the economy of the whole county.”

Mayor Barlow expressed his thankfulness and appreciation for the funding that he believes will propel the growth of Oswego in all areas.

“Downtown Oswego holds promise for becoming the foundation for an active, diverse and desirable area to live and work in Central New York. With this $10 million, we are poised to build on our city’s strengths, such as its core academic and business institutions, and un-tap our city’s enormous potential for economic and cultural growth. I thank Governor Cuomo for his vision to bring a renewed energy to the region and I look forward to where this project will take us next.”

Governor Cuomo shared the same excitement and promising hope for Oswego as he announced the city’s winnings.

“I truly believe the best is yet to come,” Cuomo said. “We’re not getting back what Oswego was, we’re going to build an Oswego that has never been, and we are on the track to do it.”