FULTON, NY – Fulton city officials came together to discuss a final application submitted to the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council in the hopes of being the $10 million winner of the third round of Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) funding from Governor Cuomo.
Having applied for the past two years, city officials are confident that this application is capable of winning.
Joe Fiumara, the Director of Fulton’s Community Development Agency said the application is, “the best application we’ve put together so far without a doubt.”
Different from years past, the application includes prospective projects for all vacant properties throughout State Route 481 in the identified downtown boundary, he said.
“This really gives Governor Cuomo a reason to come back into Oswego County, it really shows what we can do with this money. This application is a representation of what Fulton needs,” Fiumara said.
Fiumara worked with a team consisting of Brittney Jerred, Marie Mankiewicz, and Dave Mankiewicz to develop the application, each bringing their own experience and insight.
A major change from prior applications came from compacting the boundary zone determining the targeted area able to access DRI funding.
The proposed DRI downtown area concentrates on the east side of the city, beginning at Oneida Street and running south along the Oswego River to the city line, encompassing South First and South Second (State Route 481) streets, the former Nestle site, and Cayuga Community College.
Within the DRI downtown area, several proposed investment potential projects and development opportunities are located throughout the downtown business district.
Such investments include the expansion and renovation of CNY Arts Center and the expansion of an existing restaurant and entertainment venue.
Historic sites such as the Fulton Public Library would see an expansion, the historic Case-Lee House would convert to a bed and breakfast, and then the hiring of a marketing team to promote the historic downtown district including the aforementioned properties as well as the John Wells Pratt House Museum and the Fulton Post Office.
Business expansions would include the Fulton Medical Center of which Oswego Health which would begin an ambulatory surgery program, the development of former nursing home (Michaud) into assisted living, and investment into new equipment at Huhtamaki.
On the former Nestle site, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency has proposed to purchase a site with the intent to build an incubator style industrial business structure to attract potential manufacturing clients to the site.
Following, DRI funding would be used to create a Master and Urban Design Plan for the Nestle site to “smooth the way for future development for future investment on the site.”
Expansion at Cayuga Community College would include the creation of an Advanced Manufacturing Institute and Corporate Training Center to address employment needs and the expansion of CCC and CiTi BOCES’ Healthcare Training Program.
The Oswego Canal marks its 200th anniversary this year, which paired with the Oswego River remains “the key defining characteristic of Fulton,” the application described.
DRI investment possibilities include revitalization of the Canal Landing Marina by redesigning the boat slips to angled slips to accompany boats up to 40’ as opposed to the current 20’ capability. Public restrooms and showers would be reopened to boaters and the public.
Construction of the Pathfinder Canal Towpath and Bridge Canal View Trails will allow increased pedestrian activity in the area of the Canal and the Oswego River.
Along one of Fulton’s busiest roads, State Route 481, the DRI addresses vacant commercial development in the proposed DRI boundary. Meeting with property owners, local officials have planned to market these properties consistent with the city’s vision.
The inclusion of pedestrian crossing and streetscape improvements along State Route 481 allowing safer access to the city’s downtown in the potential DRI funding projects was a priority among public input.
To help current, expanding, or new businesses in the downtown region, the DRI application proposes the construction of fiber optic communications infrastructure, cited as a critical need by current downtown businesses.
Also to help downtown businesses, the DRI proposes the creation of a microenterprise financing loan pool to provide SBA 504 loans to downtown entrepreneurs to provide low interest loans to small businesses and entrepreneurs who open a new business or expand an existing business.
The final proposed project is to complete a Brownfield Opportunity Area redevelopment plan to create a fund that addresses the three current projects in the downtown area but also future properties as the become available and are identified with environmental issues.
In total, all nineteen projects come out to $53 million. “This is just our group putting the projects together based on stakeholder information. These projects will be edited, revised as we go along if we are chosen for the funding,” Fiumara said.
The application detailed past investments that the future projects would work off to continue the momentum of the city.
Forty-five investment projects from 2010 to current total $191.6 million of investment representing 509 new jobs and 250 retained jobs, according to Operation Oswego County, the local economic development office.
Examples of such investment projects include the $1.6 million dollar Oswego County Catholic Charities expansion and renovation, the $25 million dollar renovation of Emery Grove Housing Development, the $2 million new build of Aldi grocery store, and the incoming $1.5 million new build as Taco Bell plans a restaurant opening, among many others.
Using possible DRI funding to continue the synergy of Fulton would be critical to the city’s continued growth and opportunities, Fiumara said.
The DRI application received support from more than twenty notable representatives and organizations including Senator Patty Ritchie, Assemblyman Will Barclay, the Fulton Common Council, President and CEO of CenterState CEO, President and CEO of Oswego Health, Fulton Footpaths, the Richard S. Shineman Foundation, the Oswego County Department of Community Development, Tourism and Planning, and several others.
“Everyone is so hopeful Fulton can win this round of funding,” Fiumara said of the project’s immense support.
Mayor Ronald Woodward Sr. is equally confident in the application.
“If need has anything to do with it, we’ll be considered. Now, we keep our fingers crossed,” Woodward said.