October 18, 2021

We Win! $10M awarded to revitalize downtown Cortland

Joe McIntyre/staff photographer

Gov. Andrew Cuomo brought good news to Cortland on Friday, announcing the city is a $10 million winner of downtown revitalization funds.

CORTLAND — Gov. Andrew Cuomo came to Cortland this morning, bringing with him a $10 million promise to help revitalize downtown.

The $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative could spur another $60 million in public and private investment and the potential to position the city for development for a generation.

“I’m pleased to announce that Cortland is the first-place winner,” Cuomo said before about 200 people at Cortland Repertory Theatre on Port Watson Street. The turnout, which included business owners, legislators, state representatives, city and college officials and landlords, greeted the announcement with a standing ovation.

Cuomo mentioned the upstate economy has suffered for years, citing challenges in Rochester, Buffalo and Cortland.

“Rochester had Kodak, then Kodak went away,” Cuomo said. “… Cortland had Wickwire, then Wickwire was gone, Smith Corona, Brockway Trucks, then they went away.”

Cuomo went on to say it’s up to the Cortland community, which knows its assets, to tackle the problem once it has the resources to do so.

Cortland was competing against Fulton, Auburn, Syracuse and Cazenovia for the $10 million. Cortland applied for the funds last year, the first year of the program, but lost to Oswego.

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is meant to spur economic development in downtowns by providing state money to act as seed money for private investment. One application from each of the state’s 10 economic development regions would win the $10 million.

Cortland’s plan includes:

A flagship hotel on Main Street near Groton Avenue. Total cost: $6 million.

Luxury student housing on Groton Avenue. Total cost: $20 million

A parking structure to replace the current Groton Avenue parking lot and add about 200 parking spaces. Total cost: $2.3 million.

Main Street infrastructure and streetscaping to increase accessibility to downtown and promote walking and biking as alternative transportation options. Total cost: $2.5 million.

Northeast Gateway and Clinton Avenue Corridor enhancement to the route between Interstate 81’s Exit 11 and Main Street to create better connection to downtown. Total cost: $12 million.

A 21st century downtown infrastructure meant to appeal to young professionals and make Cortland a sustainability leader, including downtown wi-fi, an alternative energy grant fund and electric car charging station. Total cost: $650,000.

1890 House Museum-Carriage House renovations to host year-round events. Total cost: $1.5 million.

A downtown movie theater, a national theater chain. Total cost: $2.6 million.