NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — Both Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul were in Niagara Falls on Wednesday morning for an announcement.
After explaining the process of a downtown revitalization initiative where a city could win up to $10 million, Cuomo announced that Niagara Falls would be taking that top prize.
“You have won in the DRI, first place…Congratulations,” said Governor Cuomo, who announced that Niagara Falls is this year’s winner of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative for submitting ten good ideas for improving what’s now known as the city’s Bridge District near the Whirlpool Bridge.
Over the next eight months to a year, a local planning committee will decide how to best spend the State money in the neighborhood where Chris Washington grew up. “There’s just really been nothing happening over here,” said Washington. “They took the parade and the fair that we used to have, so by them investing into the community, this neighborhood, I think that’s an excellent idea.”
The hope is that this ten million dollars in State money will inspire private investors to pitch in more, like Blue Cardinal Capital, which just bought 38 properties in Niagara Falls, including a building at 1902 Main Street, where the company intends to start renovations on a mixed use project soon.
“We can’t replace the streets, we can’t replace the street lights, we can’t address all of the safety needs and concerns of the neighborhood and having the partnership we have with the city is so significant, and getting the support of the state to make sure this is happening at a pace that’s comfortable for investors is fantastic,” said Robert Richardson of Blue Cardinal Capital.
Niagara Falls Mayor Paul Dyster has high hopes for the transformation. “Where the DRI is gonna be most effective is in a place where there’s a social need that meets up with the market opportunity, and that’s exactly what you’ve got in the Bridge District along Main Street.”
Cuomo said that there were 10 winning spots, and that a plan submitted by the city won first place.
Describing it, Cuomo said the plan was “smart, intelligent and impressed a lot of people.”
Watch the announcement in the video below.