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Seneca Falls presents as finalist for $10 million DRI grant

The Seneca Falls Development Corp (SFDC) announced that the Town of Seneca Falls was selected as a Finalist for the Finger Lakes Region’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant.

On Thursday, the SFDC was given 30 minutes to present its application’s merits in front of the DRI selection committee of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council (FLREDC) at Monroe Community College in Rochester.

The announcement follows a nearly yearlong effort by the SFDC to lay a stronger foundation for economic growth, downtown revitalization, and positive exposure for the Seneca Falls area following last year’s Finalist designation.

“Months of preparation went into our Town’s DRI application,” said Greg Zellers, SFDC Director, “and the concepts presented to the committee were rooted in community-wide input, suggestions, and collaboration. From downtown building improvements to cultural arts opportunities to preserving and showcasing our town’s incredible heritage, we’re proud of our comprehensive and inclusive application.”

The presenters who appeared before the DRI selection committee were Bob McKeveny, Superintendent of the Seneca Falls Central School District; Doug Avery, of the Seneca Falls Town Council; Jessica Lorenzetti, a Spanish teacher with Mynderse Academy and the Seneca Falls Middle School; Joell Murney-Karsten, SFDC Board Chair and Community Outreach Manager at del Lago Resort & Casino; and Greg Zellers, SFDC Director.

“Everyone did a fantastic job sharing the cohesive vision for downtown Seneca Falls,” said Joell Murney-Karsten, SFDC Board Chair, “and we each touched on the pillars already in place that can help support and drive the projects outlined in the DRI application forward.”

Following several public community workshops, project polls, letter-gathering campaigns, and dozens of conversations with area residents and business owners, the overall theme behind the Seneca Falls DRI application was ‘Remarkable Heritage, Promising Future.’

“The foundation of our application was one that respected, preserved, and honored our heritage while still propelling Seneca Falls forward with progressive development,” added Zellers. “With more than 200 historic structures and beautiful buildings ready for rehabilitation and reuse, we can still move forward while embracing days passed.”

The winning community won’t be announced until late summer or Fall, but the SFDC remains confident that the selection committee will see a true home-grown, home-supported effort to showcase the value of Seneca Falls and leverage the DRI award to build a brighter future.

“We’re recognized internationally as the birthplace of Women’s Rights and our history is one of progress,” said Murney-Karsten. “If the selection committee considers everything our town used to be, everything our town is doing to encourage revitalization, and everything our town is capable of when working together, I think we’re in an incredible position. We’re grateful to everyone who participated throughout the process and look forward to carrying the momentum forward, regardless of the final decision.”