Ossining, Haverstraw Win $10-Million Downtown Revitalization Awards
John Jordan | November 23, 2021
OSSINING—Downtown revitalization efforts in the Village of Ossining and across the Hudson in the Town of Haverstraw each got a $10-million infusion of cash.
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced at an event held at the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center here on Nov. 22 that Haverstraw and Ossining will receive $10 million each in funding as the Mid-Hudson region winners of the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI).
As part of DRI Round 5, each of the state’s 10 regional economic development regions are being awarded $20 million, to make for a total state commitment of $200 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their post COVID-19 economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods. Haverstraw and Ossining now join the cities of Middletown, Kingston, New Rochelle and Peekskill, which were the Mid-Hudson Region’s winners in the first four DRI rounds, respectively.
“Our downtowns are the hubs for communities to connect and thrive, and as a former local official I know personally how transformative this funding can be to boost quality of life,” Gov. Hochul said. “Through our Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we will continue to give communities, like Ossining and Haverstraw, across the state the extra boost they need to recover from the pandemic and create more viable, livable, walkable downtowns.”
In this fifth round of the DRI, Gov. Hochul doubled funding from $100 million to $200 million and allowed each Regional Economic Development Council to decide whether to nominate two $10 million awardees or one $20 million awardee for transformative and catalytic downtown redevelopment projects. The DRI is led by the Department of State and through its partnership with the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), technical support to the awardees will be provided to assist them with including carbon neutral principles in support of the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85% by 2050.
Haverstraw Mayor Michael Kohut said, “Thank you, Governor Hochul, for this great honor. I’m extremely proud of the collective time, dedication and effort that went into our Downtown Revitalization Initiative plan. My thanks to everyone who helped us to reach this summit and bring home this targeted economic development funding.”
Ossining Mayor Rika Levin said, “This is an exciting day for Ossining, and a testament to the hard work of so many people here in the village. Thank you, Governor Hochul, for delivering this $10 million commitment to our community. We look forward to the great projects and progress that this funding supports.”
Haverstraw’s downtown is a high-density neighborhood close to the Hudson riverfront. The village of Haverstraw aims to make this area an inclusive, lively, 21st century urban center where residents and visitors can live, work, learn and play. Haverstraw has stayed committed to downtown revitalization with multiple completed and ongoing projects, including multiple mixed-use developments, a new waterfront esplanade, and streetscape improvements. Building on this work, Haverstraw aims to redevelop vacant space, expand public space, increase the economic activity of and access to the waterfront, as well as embrace their diverse history, state officials noted.
Ossining’s DRI will focus on the Waterfront District. With a downtown that is on both the New York State and the National Historic Registers, Ossining wants to use their existing assets, including a rich history, public amenities, engaged residents, and an innovative business community, to build on previous successes and strengthen their downtown to have the greatest economic impact. Previous successes include a mixed-use development with a waterfront park, promenade, beach, and fishing pier on a former brownfield, the Sing Sing Kill Greenway, and the ongoing Sing Sing Prison Museum project. Building on these projects, Ossining aims to improve community services, increase access to and the economic impact of the waterfront, expand public space, and repurpose areas for development.
The Mid-Hudson Region Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and competitive review process of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region and considered seven criteria below before recommending Haverstraw and Ossining as the nominees.
Mid Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Chair Dr. Donald P. Christian, President, SUNY New Paltz said, “Congratulations to Ossining and Haverstraw for their outstanding plans for revisioning their downtown communities. These investments will help to energize their downtowns, grow local businesses and transform their communities. The DRI’s innovative and thoughtful projects have made a real difference around the state and will further support our work to reimagine and rebuild an even stronger New York for the future.”
Led by the Department of State, an interagency team of state experts will work with Haverstraw and Ossining to begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize their downtowns with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. Local Planning Committees made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners.
The Strategic Investment Plans will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with each community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The Strategic Investment Plans will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that can leverage and expand upon the state’s $10-million investment. Plans for the DRI’s fifth round will be complete in 2022.