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State will spend $200M on Downtown Revitalization Initiative, NY Forward programs

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  • Staff Report 

Governor Kathy Hochul announced a new allocation of $200 million for New York’s signature downtown revitalization and economic development programs. The funds will be evenly split between Round 7 of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) and Round 2 of the NY Forward program, both aimed at revitalizing smaller, rural downtowns. With this year’s allocation, state investment in the programs since their launch in 2016 has reached the $1 billion milestone. So far, $800 million in funding has been awarded to 93 communities statewide. The application deadline for this round of funding is September 29 at 4 p.m.

Governor Hochul described the transformative impact these initiatives have had on New York State. “These programs have created a wave of revitalization that is sweeping across the state,” she said. “They are fulfilling the original vision for the DRI of creating vibrant downtowns of all shapes, sizes and characters in each region, enticing businesses to invest and locate in New York State.”

The announcement coincided with New York’s inaugural forum on the DRI and NY Forward programs, held in Syracuse. The forum, titled “A Retrospective for the Future of the State’s DRI and NY Forward Communities,” included discussions with mayors and private stakeholders from communities previously selected for DRI funding. The gathering aimed to generate recommendations to inform the future of the programs and educate prospective applicants on the benefits of participation.

Since its launch in 2016, the DRI program, led by the Department of State, has awarded $700 million to 69 communities. The program has also contributed to the creation of over 3,000 new housing units. Similarly, NY Forward, established in the previous year’s budget, has awarded $100 million to 24 communities in its initial round. Both initiatives are designed to generate further investment, with every dollar committed estimated to spur an additional $3 of investments.

State officials, including the New York Secretary of State, the President of Empire State Development, the Commissioner of New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and the CEO of NYSERDA, praised the programs’ efficacy. “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward program are breathing new life into our downtown areas,” said Hope Knight, CEO of Empire State Development. “These programs continue to create successful projects in communities across the state, and have been the catalyst needed to generate new investments and spur economic growth.”

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