A final list of projects in the city’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative should be ready by the end of June.
Cortland Mayor Brian Tobin said last week the list was sent to the state for review. “We’re not expecting a hearing until the end of June,” he said.
A downtown movie theater, a $1.4 million entertainment venue in the former Mullen’s office supply store and a two-way Main Street are among the 26 projects and $35.5 million in downtown investment seeking $10 million in state funds to get them started.
Cortland was awarded $10 million from the state in October as the Central New York winner of the 2017 Downtown Revitalization Initiative.
In November, 23 projects were brought forward for public input. A total of 19 projects were turned down by January. Another 26 were passed along with the initiative’s committee asking for $12.7 million. The state will further winnow the list to meet the $10 million available.
The projects proposed are intended to spur additional private investment in downtown Cortland, with the proposed projects requiring $22.8 million from other sources to be completed. Among the largest would be $5.1 million to convert Main Street to two-way traffic and update its infrastructure, $975,000 for the Mullen’s project, and $484,000 toward a $2.2 million business innovation center.
State Sen. James Seward and Adam Megivern, director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership, take a tour Friday of locations in downtown Cortland undergoing renovations.
“I don’t have a lot of detail,” state Sen. James Seward (R- Milford) said during a visit Friday to present a grant and tour downtown, including the innovation center planned by the Cortland Downtown Partnership.
Seward said that because of dealing with the state’s budget he had not had a lot of time to review any of the projects submitted. However, he is in support of the proposed projects. “Whatever the local priorities are will be my priorities,” he said. Seward’s tour included stops at places seeking some of the $10 million.
One stop on the tour included 40-42 Main St., home to the Downtown Partnership’s offices. The building from Main Street is boarded up and almost vacant looking. However, inside construction is creating a third-floor apartment, with a rooftop terrace, and new office space for the partnership.
Adam Megivern, director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership, said this morning that the partnership put in for around $484,000 of the DRI funds to help finish renovations to the building. The funds would help finish facade work as well as work to the first-floor retail incubator.
Garry VanGorder, the DRI committee’s co-chairman and the executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corp., had said the kind of projects the committee was looking for would transform downtown Cortland, were financially feasible and the state would be able to get a return on its investment.