FULTON – Common Council 3rd Ward Councilor Don Patrick, Jr. invited Brittney Jerred and Marie Mankiewicz, members of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative application committee, to speak about the DRI with residents of his ward and others Wednesday, Oct. 2.
Over 30 residents of Fulton showed up at the Lanigan Elementary School library for the 3rd Ward meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
Jerred and Mankiewicz broke down the process of applying for the DRI, which awarded $10 million to the City of Fulton’s downtown area.
The boundary of the downtown area goes along the Oswego River from Oneida Street South to the former Nestles site and includes South First Street and South Second Street.
This year was the fourth year they applied for the DRI. The first year, 2016, it was awarded to Fulton’s neighboring city, Oswego; the second year was Cortland and the third year was Auburn.
Some of the goals of the DRI is to make the NYS 481 Gateway more appealing for passersby to stop in Fulton, capitalize on the waterfront and walking trails and to enhance the quality of life in the city.
“We know that 20,000 cars pass along 481 every day going through Fulton and we really want to try to stop some of the traffic, to stop in Fulton,” Mankiewicz said.
The residents at the meeting generally agreed the improvements made by the DRI will help to bring in younger people and encourage those already here to stay.
Jerred and Mankiewicz are also the two main members of Fulton Footpaths, which is working toward establishing a system of eight walking trails, which was one of the proposed projects for the DRI application.
They believe these walking trails will be one of the features to draw in new residents to Fulton.
There were 26 proposed projects in the downtown area the DRI would theoretically give funding to. These included 11 small businesses/entrepreneurs, 6 public infrastructures, 5 historic preservations and 4 anchor institutions.
Although these projects were used in the application, Jerred and Mankiewicz emphasized there is no guarantee they will be the same projects or for the same amount when the DRI gets rolling.
A team of people from the state and Fulton will be formed to consider which projects are most needed and most financially responsible when it comes to dispersing the grant money. Other projects in the downtown area will also be invited to be considered.
“Actually, the way it works, is you get $10 million; $300,000 is given to a consultant that the state hires, so there’s $9.7 million left to go towards projects,” Mankiewicz said.
Fulton will not likely begin to see physical changes in the downtown area for a few years. Oswego was awarded their DRI grant in 2016 and only recently has begun to see a change in their downtown.
Mankiewicz said this is because of the long process it takes.
“Even after they give it to you, you have to wait ‘til they assign staff, then they have to come up with a contract, then the city and the state have to sign the contract before you can even begin it,” Mankiewicz said.
The residents at the meeting asked questions and discussed what needs to be done to make more people want to visit and stay in Fulton.
“If you want people to come to a community, you talk about what’s right, not about what’s wrong,” 3rd ward resident Nan Jacobson said. “What’s right about the community is the people that participate.”
Jerred and Mankiewicz invited the residents of the 3rd ward and the rest of Fulton to engage in discussions when public input meetings are held to see what the city’s downtown needs and wants.
To hear the full discussion, click here.