OSWEGO – A big part of the Port City’s renaissance is child’s play.
On Tuesday afternoon (July 30), Mayor Billy Barlow and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul celebrated the re-opening of the Children’s Museum of Oswego.
The event featured the unveiling of the improvements and exhibits in the museum at the corner of West Bridge and First streets.
A significant portion of the renovations were funded through Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
The $300,000 in funding supplemented the Children’s Museum of Oswego’s fundraising efforts, allowing for new interactive exhibits and expanding the capacity of the museum in downtown Oswego, the mayor said.
CMOO also received an additional $180,000 allocation from the DRI for exterior improvements to the historic Buckhout-Jones building to be conducted later this summer, he added.
“We’ve had a lot of great days in the last three years – but especially in the last six months,” the mayor said. “The Lieutenant Governor was here in December for a tour of the completely gutted CMOO. Now, she’s back to see the renovated museum.”
“The newly renovated Children’s Museum is at the heart of the transformation of downtown Oswego, welcoming both residents and visitors to this unique community,” Lieutenant Governor Hochul said. “Thanks to support from our Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the museum features new interactive exhibits that provide a valuable educational experience and help children and families make memories that will last a lifetime.”
“The Children’s Museum of Oswego is a vital component to our comprehensive downtown revitalization plan,” the mayor said. “The museum provides Oswego families with a recreational activity that is educational and active, while also drawing visitors from our region to downtown Oswego to experience the museum.”
He called CMOO a “great unique asset, complimenting so many other positive developments” in downtown.
With all new exhibits and improvements, it can further enhance the experience and continue to be a destination for people from all over Central New York, he added.
Hochul praised everyone who came together to make the CMOO a reality.
“When we all come together, the power of that is unstoppable!” she said.
There were days when Upstate was seen as being second to Downstate.
“I’m here today to declare that era is over” Hochul said.
CMOO, founded in 2013 by Jill and Jonathan Shaver, features hands-on multi-sensory exhibits in a developmentally stimulating environment.
Jillian Shaver, executive director and founder of CMOO, said, “We were thrilled when the lieutenant governor announced that the children’s museum would receive funds from Oswego’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award. It showed that our state leaders and city administration believe in investing in cultural institutions to support the economic, physical and social goals of revitalizing our urban core. It proved that the children’s museum was not going to simply serve as a sideline to economic vitality, but stand at the forefront of positive growth in our city.”
Children’s museums create “innovators, problem-solvers and dreamers,” she said, adding, “Oswego’s revitalization is not going to stop here. Learn, play discover!”
In April of this year, Lieutenant Governor Hochul and Mayor Barlow presided over a ribbon-cutting for four other DRI projects in Oswego -the Market Street Pocket Park, Route 104/Bridge Street Complete Streets, LITATOR Building (Global Buffet) mixed-use development, and the River Walk mixed-use on West First Street.
At today’s event, the Lieutenant Governor toured and was briefed on the significant progress on these projects just three months later.
The Complete Streets project has been completed; the Pocket Park is nearly complete; the Global Buffet building has been demolished, paving the way for the new DRI project; and construction on housing units in the River Walk complex on West First Street will begin in the fall.
In 2016, Governor Cuomo announced the creation of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, a program providing a comprehensive approach to improving the physical, social, and economic climate of participating communities.
The intention is to provide funding that can help communities on the cusp of economic revitalization tip over into sustained prosperity.
Oswego was one of 10 winners of the $10 million DRI grant in 2016, the first round of the program.
The city’s DRI plan consists of 12 projects, 11 of which are well under way, Barlow said Tuesday.
The Oswego DRI is a model for other DRIs in the speed with which they have moved their projects and the way that the projects reinforce one another holistically and strategically, Hochul saod.