The city of Batavia is the Finger Lakes region second-round winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
The Genesee County micropolitan area epicenter will receive $10 million in funding and investments and now will begin the process of developing a strategic investment plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the grant.
“This $10 million award will help attract jobs, spur private investment and transform Batavia’s downtown into a vibrant, diverse and economically active business and cultural center,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement. “By investing in the unique strengths of local communities, we are driving economic resurgence and continuing to move the Finger Lakes forward.”
The Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council went through a competitive review process of proposals from communities throughout the region and considered eight criteria before recommending Batavia as its nominee for winner.
Criteria for the winner included a compact downtown of sufficient size to support a vibrant, year-round downtown, as well as having the ability to capitalize on prior or future private or public investment in the neighborhood. The winning city also needed to have recent or impending job growth and have a downtown that was both attractive and livable for a diverse population.
The city of Geneva was the Finger Lakes region’s first-round DRI winner.
“The city of Batavia presented a very solid, collaborative, community-based plan that focuses on smart, public-private investments,” said Howard Zemsky, president, CEO and commissioner of Empire State Development.
Batavia’s downtown is a mixed-use, affordable neighborhood with access to jobs, anchor businesses and city and county services. Through the DRI, the city of Batavia will accelerate the redevelopment of existing buildings and create additional business and residential opportunities downtown.
“The governor’s commitment of $10 million from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative comes at a time when Batavia is on the edge of major economic development and growth,” Batavia City Council President Eugene Jankowski said. “The award will propel our efforts forward as our community continues to work together to strengthen and grow downtown. There’s no doubt that jobs and private sector development will follow this investment.”
DRI complements Finger Lakes Forward, the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The state has invested more than $5.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan, which is designed to invest in key industries including photonics, agriculture and food production and advanced manufacturing.
“This $10 million investment will provide the tools and resources the city of Batavia needs to succeed,” said Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst. “Together we will take downtown Batavia to the next level, transforming it into a hub of activity and excitement. By revitalizing our local neighborhoods, we are moving our upstate economy forward.”
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