Governor Cuomo Announces Oswego as Winner of $10 Million Downtown Grant

Governor Cuomo announced today that Oswego has been named the first place winner in the competition for a $10 million grant to revitalize the city's downtown.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Billy Barlow hold the ceremonial huge check Thursday. From left are councilors Caitlyn Reynolds and Nate Emmons, Senator patty Ritchie, Councilor Pat McLaughlin, Gov. Cuomo, Councilor John Gosek, Mayor Barlow, Councilor Robert Corradino (behind the mayor) and Council President Shawn Walker.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Billy Barlow hold the ceremonial huge check Thursday. From left are councilors Caitlyn Reynolds and Nate Emmons, Senator patty Ritchie, Councilor Pat McLaughlin, Gov. Cuomo, Councilor John Gosek, Mayor Barlow, Councilor Robert Corradino (behind the mayor) and Council President Shawn Walker.

Gov. Cuomo Announces Oswego To Receive $10 Million In DRI

State to Collaborate With Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize Downtown Oswego

Central New York Project Will Transform Downtown Oswego, Create Jobs and Boost Local Economy

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today (July 14) announced that Downtown Oswego was selected as the winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative in Central New York.

To watch the announcement:

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative, first laid out in the Governor’s 2016 State of the State address, marks a comprehensive plan to transform local neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live and work. The plan aligns with “Central NY Rising” – the region’s successful Upstate Revitalization Initiative blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development.

The winner was selected as part of a competitive process by the state’s Central New York Regional Economic Development Council and will receive $10 million in state funding to revitalize the local neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth and prosperity. The award will include up to $300,000 in planning funds for private sector experts to work with a local planning committee to draft a Strategic Investment Plan that will identify specific economic development, transportation, and housing and community projects. The grant is part of a $100 million effort to improve the urban vitality of city centers across the state. Plans will be completed by early 2017.

“New York is working to generate opportunity in every corner of this state and with the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we are building on that progress,” Governor Cuomo said. “Through this funding, we are giving Oswego the opportunity to invest in its rich historical, cultural and scenic assets and transform its downtown into an economic anchor for the entire Central New York community. This is another exciting chapter in the economic revitalization of upstate and we will continue our work to keep Central New York rising.”

“Governor Cuomo’s unprecedented Downtown Revitalization Initiative acknowledges that thriving urban centers are key to changing attitudes and bringing people back to our communities,” said Regional Economic Development Chair Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “I have seen first-hand how revitalizing one downtown can be transformative for an entire region. With support from the Regional Council, that’s exactly what we expect will happen here.”

The City of Oswego

With assets that include a scenic waterfront location, compact and walkable downtown, rich cultural history and anchor institutions such as SUNY Oswego, Oswego Health and the Port of Oswego Authority, Oswego is well-positioned for a transformation into a regionally competitive area while maintaining its small town charm. Under the DRI, Oswego will focus on catalytic projects in the downtown that will leverage significant private investment and provide new housing opportunities, mixed-use development, a business incubator, commercial/retail development and community services.

Downtown Revitalization Initiative

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is chaired by former New York Secretary of State Cesar A. Perales, along with a team of planners from the Department of State and private sector experts, with support from Empire State Development, the Division of Homes and Community Renewal, and other state agencies.

Each Regional Council weighed seven criteria in selecting their nominee:
1) The targeted neighborhood should be compact and well-defined.
2) The downtown, or its center, should be of a size sufficient to support an active, year-round downtown and should have a sizeable existing or increasing population within easy reach for whom this would be the primary downtown.
3) The downtown should capitalize on prior, and catalyze future, private and public investment in the neighborhood and surrounding areas.
4) There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable
5) The downtown must contain properties or characteristics that contribute or that could contribute, if enhanced, to the attractiveness and livability of the downtown, including the presence of developable mixed-use spaces, housing at different levels of affordability and type, commercial and retail main street businesses, including healthy and affordable food markets, walkability and bikeability, and public parks and gathering spaces
6) The downtown should contain or articulate how it can create policies that enhance quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes, complete streets plans, or transit-oriented development; and
7) Local and community support must exist for revitalization of the downtown. There must be a commitment among local leaders and stakeholders to build and implement a strategic investment plan for the downtown.

“I congratulate these communities for their tremendous efforts and winning proposal,” said New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. “These areas are ripe for revitalization and this initiative will make these neighborhoods more livable and attract new residents, workers and visitors to the downtown, providing opportunity for job creation and economic growth. The Department of State is looking forward to working with the winning downtowns, many of whom we have shared successes with in years past.”

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is another example of Governor Cuomo’s innovative approach to economic development,” said James S. Rubin, Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal. “By building on existing assets, including high-quality housing that incorporates retail and other conveniences for people at a variety of income levels, we will help downtowns reach their full potential as attractive, affordable places to live and work. Congratulations to the 10 communities that put their best foot forward to win this funding. I look forward to seeing the results.”

“It was a pleasure working with all of the Regional Economic Development Councils throughout this community-driven process,” said Perales, Chair of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. “The REDC members had a very difficult task in making their selections among the many strong candidates in each region. My thanks to the REDCs and my congratulations to the winning communities.”

Regional Economic Development Councils

Round VI of the REDC initiative will award more than $750 million in state funding and tax incentives. In 2016, all 10 REDCs will be competing for a designation as a Top Performer. Five Top Performers will be selected and will receive up to $25 million in Empire State Development Capital Grant funding, with the remaining five regions receiving up to $10 million. Additionally, each region will be eligible for up to $15 million in Excelsior Tax Credits to help attract and grow businesses in the region.

Regional Council priorities in 2016 include:
•?Support the Downtown Revitalization Initiative Plan, and begin to identify priority projects in the defined community;
•?Implementing strategies through the project pipeline;
•?Training the workforce for today and tomorrow; and
•?Measuring the performance and progress of the strategic plan and CFA projects.

By incentivizing the implementation of the strategic plans, Regional Councils, businesses, educational institutions, local governments, not-for-profit groups and other stakeholders are further motivated to work together to accomplish the regional vision. While project funding will be awarded to all 10 Regional Councils through the 2016 CFA, the competition places emphasis on Regional Council performance and action to implement strategies. Encouraging genuine cooperation among the REDCs and representatives of the community is critical to achieving economic development success.

In addition to the $10 million available to the winning Downtown Revitalization Initiative communities, state agencies will be awarding priority points through the CFA to additional downtown revitalization projects designed to transform communities ripe for development into vibrant, thriving neighborhoods.

Additionally, potential applicants from regions that were awarded $500 million through last year’s Upstate Revitalization Initiative are encouraged to submit CFAs in Round VI, as all three regions are full participants in this year’s REDC competition.

The deadline for CFA submissions is Friday, July 29 at 4 p.m.

For applicants, the CFA is available at; and the 2016 REDC Guidebook and list of available resources can be found at

Check back to Oswego County Today for excerpts from Governor Cuomo’s big announcement and reactions from local officials


OSWEGO, NY – A packed conference center at the Best Western in Oswego anxiously awaited an announcement from Governor Cuomo.

Governor Cuomo announced today that Oswego has been named the first place winner in the competition for a $10 million grant to revitalize the city's downtown.
Governor Cuomo announced today that Oswego has been named the first place winner in the competition for a $10 million grant to revitalize the city’s downtown.

“I’m here to tell you today, congratulations you are a first place winner,” Cuomo told the room in regards to the statewide Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

The initiative will provide the winning city of Oswego with a ten million dollar grant to revamp the downtown region of the city.

Oswego was one of four municipalities in the Central New York region to submit for one of ten winning downtown grants out of 122 total applications throughout the state.

“You deserve it, the competition was very, very stiff,” Cuomo said, adding that a “smart application” that “hit all the points” was the key to the first place distinction.

“This is an important day for the economy of our region,” said Oswego Mayor, Billy Barlow. “Thank you (Governor Cuomo) for shining a bright light on the city of Oswego and Upstate New York.”

Check back to Oswego County Today for more information from Governor Cuomo’s big announcement.


  1. Just when you thought we were all but forgotten, hopefully it doesn’t just benefit the typical Oswego Select Few!

  2. This is very good news for the city of Oswego. I almost cried after when I was shaking the Governors’ hand when I told him he let the city of Fulton down. I told him he drove through it on his way to Oswego. We need help I told him I told him we are hurting. But if you look at his statements you know why Oswego and not Fulton. “smart application” that “hit all the points” were key to 1st place distinction.

  3. HUD Secretary Andrew Cuomo awarded the City of Fulton $6 million dollars to revitalize its downtown under Don Bullard’s Administration.

  4. 1996 – 1998 I believe. The grant came through Community Dev. C Rutledge – Re-configured Cayuga/S 1st St./ Park and Shop – Parking lot and the created the canal landing on S 1st St.

    S 1st and Cayuga Sts. were opened up to thru traffic.

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