The DRI Explained: How Fulton Decides How To Spend The $10 Million Grant

Governor poses with group of people
Governor Andrew Cuomo presents the City of Fulton with a check for $10 million. August 2019 Photo by: Kassadee Paulo

FULTON – Each year for the past four years New York State has chosen 10 cities to give a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant with the purpose of revitalizing its downtown area, and this year Fulton was chosen for the Central New York area. 

The following is a collection of information and coverage of this process and what is going into how Fulton chooses to spend that money. It includes exactly what the DRI is, what it can and cannot be used for, who makes the decisions and the potential projects.

What is the Downtown Revitalization Initiative?

The DRI is Governor Andrew Cuomo’s program that grants a total of $100 million to 10 communities across New York. Aside from Fulton these cities also received $10 million: Schenectady, Seneca Falls, Baldwin, Peekskill, Utica, Staten Island, Potsdam, Hornell, and Niagara Falls Bridge District. The grant gives these communities $10 million to revitalize and transform its downtown area to boost their local economies. Fulton has applied all four rounds and was chosen for the fourth round by the CNY Regional Economic Development Council. Fulton’s neighbor, Oswego, was chosen for the first round. 

Who chooses how the money is spent?

The state has hired Cameron Engineering as a consultant, and $300,000 of the $10 million goes to them. The rest of the $9.7 million is available for projects. There is a group, the Local Planning Committee, who works with Cameron Engineering to evaluate proposed projects.

The LPC forms subcommittees by project type: private, non-profit and municipal. As smaller groups, they evaluate individual projects based on agreed goals and other criteria. Then the LPC comes together as a whole to vote on a final slate of projects to recommend to the state. In the end, the state has final say as to which projects are chosen and how much they will receive. 

Who is the LPC?

The Local Planning Committee is comprised of community members throughout the city of Fulton. 

The LPC members include:

  • L. Michael Treadwell, Co-Chair, REDC appointee – Executive Director Operation Oswego County, Inc.
  • Donald Patrick, Jr., Co-Chair, Mayoral Designee – 2019 President of Fulton Common Council
  • Caroline Chatterton – Executive Director of Fulton Library
  • Jeff Coakley – Executive VP and COO of Oswego Health
  • Kristen Collins – Senior Project Architect with C&S Companies
  • Kim Doyle – Small Business Owner of Hair We Are
  • Brian Durant – President of Cayuga Community College
  • Linda Eagan – Administrative Director of Fulton Block Builders
  • Jim Farfaglia – City Resident, Writer and Historian
  • Nancy Fox – Executive Director of CNY Arts Center, Inc.
  • Leah Haggerty – Broker and Owner of Century 21 Leah’s Signature
  • Brittney Jerred – City Resident and Volunteer Fulton Footpaths
  • David Mankiewicz – SVP Research, Policy and Planning, CenterState CEO
  • Marie Mankiewicz – City Resident and Volunteer Fulton Footpaths
  • Michael Pollock – President of Fulton Savings Bank
  • Brian Pulvino – Superintendent of Fulton Central School District
  • Mark Southwick – Plant Manager of Huhtamaki
  • Tina Stephens – VP and Branch Manager of Community Bank in Fulton
  • Katie Toomey – Executive Director of Greater Oswego-Fulton Chamber of Commerce
  • David R. Turner – Director of Oswego County Community Development Tourism and Planning
  • Nancy Weber – Oswego County Farm Bureau
  • Robert Weston – Small Business Owner and Resident

The staff members involved include:

  • Joe Fiumara
  • Dennis Hawthorne
  • CJ Smith 
  • Dan O’Brien
  • Julie Sweet
  • Patricia O’Reilly
  • Jim Fayle
  • Colleen Deacon

The consultant team includes members of Cameron Engineering:

  • Kevin McAndrew
  • Sarah Oral
  • David Tepper 
  • Michael Keane
  • Janice Jijina

What happens if someone from the LPC has a conflict of interest?

If a member is involved with a project or a project sponsor, they must disclose that information and recuse themselves from any discussion or voting on it. The members of the work groups were placed specifically to avoid any conflicts.

When the LPC votes on the final slate of projects, any members with conflicts of interest can vote for the slate, but with the exclusion of a specific project if there is a conflict. They should have already submitted a form disclosing any conflicts of interest. 

What can the grant money be used for?

  • Public improvement
  • New development and rehabilitation of existing structures
  • Revolving loans and grant funds
  • Branding and marketing

What can the grant money not be used for?

  • Planning activities
  • Operation and maintenance 
  • Pre-award costs
  • Property acquisition
  • Training and other programming expenses
  • Expenses related to existing programs 

How much does the DRI cover in the cost of a project?

Since there is only $9.7 million to be distributed to several proposed projects, the DRI is supposed to cover 20% of the total project cost. There is some wiggle room here, especially for non-profit projects. If a project is evaluated to be transformative and a must-have for the city, it is up to the LPC and the state to determine if it is able to give a little bit more.

What are the current proposed projects? – As of Jan. 26, 2020

Private projects (no particular order):

  • Empire Drone Company, LLC 
    • Total cost: $325,000
    • DRI request: $75,000
  • Tavern on the Lock
    • Total cost: $145,000
    • DRI request: $29,000
  • Eastern Shore Insurance
    • Total cost: $3,000
    • DRI request: $600
  • Huhtamaki
    • Total cost: $3,380,000
    • DRI request: $676,000
  • Gateway Square
    • Total cost: $684,000
    • DRI request: $250,000
  • 63 S. 1st St. 
    • Total cost: $195,700
    • DRI request: $50,700
  • Fulton Family Medicine
    • Total cost: $650,000
    • DRI request: $130,000
  • King’s Road Cafe and Coffee House
    • Total cost: $120,000
    • DRI request: $24,000
  • Dizzy Block Brewery
    • Total cost: $302,500
    • DRI request: $60,500
  • Indoor Sports Facility
    • Total cost: $2,500,000
    • DRI request: $500,000
  • Behavioral Urgent Care
    • Total cost: TBD
    • DRI request: TBD
  • Blue Moon Grill
    • Total cost: TBD
    • DRI request: TBD
  • Fast Casual Restaurant
    • Total cost: $684,000
    • DRI request: $250,000
  • Cayuga Street Cafe
    • Total cost: $150,000
    • DRI request: $35,000
  • Condo Rooftop
    • Total cost: $110,000
    • DRI request: $66,000
  • Mama Gina’s
    • Total cost: $70,000
    • DRI request: $25,000
  • Fort Frisbee
    • Total cost: $17,250
    • DRI request: $8,750
  • Red Baron Pizza
    • Total cost: $36,200
    • DRI request: $9,000
  • Case-Lee House
    • Total cost: TBD
    • DRI request: TBD
  • Chocolate Museum
    • Total cost: $25,000
    • DRI request: $25,000
  • 310-312 Division Street
    • Total cost: $559,000
    • DRI request: $226,395
  • 533 S. 4th St. (Building 30 of old Nestle site)
    • Total cost: $4,576,000
    • DRI request: $1,601,600

Non-profit projects (no particular order):

  • Fulton Public Library
    • Total cost: $260,375
    • DRI request: $208,300
  • Oswego Health
    • Total cost: $3,380,000
    • DRI request: $676,000
  • CNY Arts Center
    • Total cost: $600,000
    • DRI request: $300,000
  • Oswego IDA Manufacturing 
    • Total cost: 4,250,000
    • DRI request: $795,000

Municipal projects (no particular order):

  • Cayuga St. Breezeway Atriums
    • Total cost: TBD
    • DRI request: TBD
  • Zoning update
    • Total cost: $100,000
    • DRI request: $100,000
  • Broadband/wifi
    • Total cost: TBD
    • DRI request: TBD
  • Downtown/Historic Marketing
    • Total cost: $100,000
    • DRI request: $50,000
  • Riverside Apartments
    • Total cost: $3,750,000
    • DRI request: $750,000
  • 481 Pedestrian/Streetscape
    • Total cost: $400,000
    • DRI request: $400,000
  • Grant/loan fund
    • Total cost: $1,000,000
    • DRI request: $600,000
  • Marina
    • Total cost: $3,000,000
    • DRI request: $3,000,000
  • Trails
    • Total cost: $1,640,420
    • DRI request: $820,000
  • Nestle Site
    • Total cost: $4,250,000
    • DRI request: $795,000

Without including the projects with TBD costs, the current amount of DRI funding requested for all projects totals to $12,536,845, almost $3 million more than the allotted $9.7 million. Several of the projects went over the 20% asking limit and has created a challenge for the LPC.

Further questions and information will be added to this post as the DRI process continues. If you have a question you would like to be answered regarding the DRI, leave it in the comment section and Oswego County Today will look into it and add it to this post.

The information in this post was acquired from attending LPC meetings and public input sessions.

Coverage links to date:

Andrew Cuomo visited Fulton to announce it won. – Aug. 14, 2019

LPC Meeting #1 – Oct. 10, 2019

LPC Public Input Session #1 – Nov. 7, 2019

LPC Meeting #2 – Nov. 21, 2019

LPC Meeting #3 – Dec. 19, 2019

LPC Public Input Session #2 – Jan. 9, 2020

LPC Meeting #4 – Jan. 23, 2020

Further reading:

5 Comments

  1. I must of hit a nerve. To make a statement that if someone has a conflict of interest and must inform the committee that they are on to these facts. Sounds like telling a jury to disregard the information they just heard. They have influenced the committee and the whole DRI process by being appointed to the committees and they should have recused themselves from the get go. Any person that works for or is the head of a possible recipient of any DRI money has a reason to influence the committee. You can’t tell me or anyone else that it will not happen. Just the fact that OCO-OCIDA purchased a piece of property for a low price shows how individuals or a single individual influences decisions. The AG or Comptroller should look long and hard at this. Sounds like the beginnings of a smaller version of the Buffalo Billions to me. Thanks for the explanations nice job. Just a large smoke and mirrors project.

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