October 22, 2021

DRI project still on hold

Officials: Main Street work may be a year or two away

Colin Spencer/staff reporter

A man checks his phone Friday at the intersection of Main and Court Streets in Cortland. Under the Downtown Revitalization Iniative project, the street would be made into two directions and replace various water pipes.

Cortland officials said Friday the work restructuring and rebuilding Main Street may still be a year or two away.

The $5 million project, announced in 2017, under the city’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative, would:

  • Reconfigure Main Street into two ways.
  • Reconfigure parking spots.
  • Replace aging stormwater, sewer and water pipes.

Currently, the project is in the design phase for both the above ground and underground portions, as it has been for a couple of months, Mayor Brian Tobin said in an email.

Chris Bistocchi, the city’s superintendent for public works, said in September 2019 that he wanted to see construction begin four months ago, though it was never set.

This will have to be complete before bids for construction can go out, Tobin said.

“2021 will be a big year for construction,” Tobin said. “It will carry over into 2022.”

He continued though in saying that it was difficult to give a detailed timeline at this point in the process as the project is still in the design phase.

“My understanding is that construction could begin late next year,” said Garry VanGorder, executive director of the Cortland County Business Development Corp. and Industrial Development Agency.

Tobin said the scope of the DRI projects, which include the Main Street project along with installing WiFi hot-spots throughout the city and restoring and reusing buildings on Main Street, has been the largest work done by the city in the past 50 years.

Other projects part of the initiative included:

  • Renovating four properties — 13-15 Central Ave., 73 Main St., 83-85 Main St. and 37-39 Port Watson St. — for mixed commercial and residential use: $1.35 million — IN PROGRESS.
  • The Orchard, 28 Main St. entertainment venue: $975,000 — PLANNING.
  • Building owner/Business Startup loan and grant fund: $600,000 — COMPLETE.
  • Downtown fiber optic and high-speed broadband: $386,000 — PLANNING.
  • Vine Health and Fitness Gym at 20 N. Main St.: $270,000 — COMPLETE.
  • Pocket park between 10 and 16 Main St.: $250,000 — PLANNING.
  • Crown City Artworks Project, featuring sculpture, murals or exhibitions: $200,000 — PLANNING.
  • SUNY Cortland Institute of Applied Geospatial and Drone Technology: $100,000 — IN PROGRESS.
  • Cortland Business Innovation Center at 40 Main St.: $484,000 — IN PROGRESS.

“The only other project of this magnitude in the last 50 years is the Clinton Avenue rebuild, which we are in the middle of as well,” he said. That $14 million project, which has been seven years in the making, will replace sewer and stormwater drains, the water mains and sidewalks, as well as road striping and new crosswalks.