OSWEGO, NY – The city of Oswego has been awarded a $225,000 grant by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Cleaner, Greener Communities initiative, to develop a Complete Streets Plan along Route 104, the city’s main corridor, that will seek to encourage more bicycling and an enhanced walking experience.
Mayor Tom Gillen and Planning and Zoning Director, Amy Birdsall, championed the grant application.
The project will be facilitated through the City’s Planning and Zoning Department and a planning consulting firm will be retained in 2015 to prepare the plan.
The plan will determine the modifications needed to improve aesthetics, safety, and alternative transportation choices such as walking and biking while maintaining efficient, reliable vehicular passage through Oswego.
When instituted, the work is expected to save energy, reduce carbon emissions and reduce storm water runoff through the incorporation of elements such as pervious paving materials, trees and landscaping.
The Cleaner, Greener Communities program, administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority seeks to create a more resilient, sustainable community while supporting the development of environmentally friendly public and private transportation.
Other goals include stimulating environmentally sustainable economic growth; saving energy and reducing greenhouse gas emissions; promoting smart growth principles; strengthening
environmental justice; and protecting and preserving New York State’s natural resources.
The city’s 2020 Strategic Plan that was adopted by the Common Council in 2011 and the city of Oswego 2020 Vision Comprehensive Plan adopted in 2003 supported the competitiveness of the grant application.
The 2020 Strategic Plan recommended preparing a plan to revitalize the Route 104 Corridor as a priority project and suggested that the gateway corridor be renovated to incorporate beautification and connectivity enhancements.
In order to prepare an award winning application for this grant, the city hired urban and community planner, Nicolette Barber, AICP, of Hunt Engineers, Architects, & Land Surveyors, P.C.
Barber has an exemplary track record for submitting award winning applications and was retained to write and submit the grant documentation.
The Common Council’s decision to hire her for 1% of the total grant award was a strategic investment that will contribute to the future economic prosperity of the community.
The intent of a revitalized Route 104 through the city is not only to enhance the quality of life, but also to inspire future economic activity and further private investment.
A New York Times article, published on August 16, 2013, reviewed a similar type of project that the village of Hamburg, NY, recently implemented.
US Route 62, their main thoroughfare through their downtown, was redesigned to include safer pedestrian crossings, more efficient and safer vehicular circulation, bike lanes, and more room for trees.
Beyond the increased quality of life benefits that the project provided, the article discussed the significant economic benefits.
The project also inspired economic activity along Hamburg’s main corridor that included private investments totaling $7 million on 33 building projects over four years.
Special thanks to the following people who provided letters of support for the grant application: Daniel Maffei, (former) US Representative for NY’s 24th Congressional District; Dr. Deborah F. Stanley, president of SUNY Oswego; Zelko Kirincich, executive director of the Port of Oswego Authority; Paul Stewart, executive director of the Oswego Renaissance Association;
Greg Mills of Ride Oswego County and current executive director of the chamber of commerce; and Nathan Emmons, past executive director of the chamber.