FULTON, NY – City officials are anxiously awaiting the results of who will win the $10 million in state funding up for grabs for one municipality in the region.
The city submitted its Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) application at the end of May as one of four communities in the CNY region to submit a proposal for the grant, including the closest contender coming from Fulton’s neighboring city, Oswego.
However, executive director of the Fulton Community Development Agency, Joe Fiumara said at a recent meeting, “I like our chances.”
He described the application as “to the point” yet thorough while touching on all the areas of recognition the state requested.
“It’s going to be a fight, so we’ll see what happens,” he said.
The grant is part of a state-wide competition initiated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to offer 10 cities, one in each region of the state, the opportunity toward $10 million to revamp their downtown area.
In a cover letter to the application, Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. as one of the local leads for the initiative, and the Common Council signed support of the proposal asking for strong consideration in “Fulton’s heritage and potential that are ripe for investment.”
With approval, the initiative will fund revitalization of the city’s downtown area as defined in the proposal as “a compact and well-defined area bordering the east and west sides of the Oswego River from city limit to city limit.”
Specifically, this area will cover from West Second Street to North and South Second Streets running along both the east and west side of the Oswego River.
Additionally, the downtown area has been marked into three separate sections labeled as a central zone, northern zone and southern zone.
The “unique” downtown area as divided into three zones has such past investments that created growth and positioned them for future development.
The central zone of downtown is currently described in the city’s comprehensive plan as “the heart of our economic well-being,” with a focus area on Canal Landing.
The city has goals relative to this area to create a more family centered environment capable of hosting events and creating a culture that draws people to this zone in the evening hours as well as add more niche development and reintroducing residential back into the upper floors of the retail zone, according to the proposal.
The south zone is the area officials believe has the most investment in the downtown boundaries, centered around the Cayuga Community College campus who invested significant money in the school’s expansion.
They continue to note that it also holds the most potential for development as the former Nestles site is currently undergoing demolition opening a 24-acre site to possible interested parties to invest alongside international supermarket chain, Aldi who already has interest in a two-acre slot.
The north zone plays a key part in the city’s future strategies as it could become home to a hotel/convention center that would become a significant tourist attraction as its focus on Indian Point as a utilized waterfront location “providing access to the river, a boat launch, and a space for fishing, strolling, and picnicking.”
The application gave a quick overview of the city of Fulton including its rich, thriving history and eventual succumb to financial hardships as industry’s dominant presence faded from the city.
After citing the many challenges the city currently faces such as high poverty, high unemployment, vacant properties and disrepair of exiting housing stock, the application went on to highlight the city’s abundant resources such as its proximity to Oswego River and Canal and Lake Neatahwanta, the pedestrian scale that gives Fulton the opportunity to be a walk-able community, the 13 parks or open spaces designated for recreation and the public transportation system.
Officials then noted the many organizations and groups aiming to revitalize the city including Friends of Fulton Parks, the Lake Neatahwanta Revitalization Committee, and Fulton Footpaths to name a few.
“The people of Fulton are leading the charge and Fulton is poised to return to its former glory with the proper support. The city of Fulton and its citizens are working together, the climate is right and energy high. Fulton is the gateway to Oswego County and our revitalization will benefit the rest of the County,” the proposal boasted.
However, it cited the city’s high need that would be very beneficial to offset the work the city is already undergoing by local organizations.
The application was submitted along with nearly 20 letters of support from community groups and organizations, local businesses, elected officials and interested parties.
In closing, the application said, “To summarize our application, the city of Fulton faces significant challenges but also possesses important assets that once aligned with the technical and financial support provided through the DRI could be used to address these challenge.”
City officials are eagerly awaiting the results of the application submission and remain hopeful that this “game changing” initiative will be awarded to the city of Fulton.