Eight Downtown Revitalization Projects Enhance the Vibrant Culture of Little Falls
$10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative is Part of a Strategic Goal to Enrich the Community, Promote Business and Create Housing Opportunities
November 28 – Governor Kathy Hochul today announced eight transformational projects in the City of Little Falls as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award. The awards will leverage the community’s walkability, and rich historic, cultural and natural resources. Renderings of the Little Falls revitalization projects are available here.
“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is all about making our New York communities even better places to live, work and play,” Governor Hochul said. “Little Falls residents have seen the potential of their community as the Gateway to the Adirondacks, and I have been struck by their passion for taking it to the next level. I want to thank every person who has made today’s announcement possible as we turn the page and build a brighter future for this community.”
The Little Falls Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will help to create a more unified downtown to improve walkability and bikeability for residents and to catalyze additional investment along Main Street and within Canal Place. Through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the City is transforming the downtown experience by allowing a more natural flow for vehicular traffic, establishing a small business assistance fund, and replacing the Main Street Canopy to make walking, shopping, and dining downtown even more enjoyable year-round.
The investments are part of the Governor’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities for the Mohawk Valley. In addition to awarding grants for catalytic community investments, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, led by the Department of State, provides technical assistance to participating communities as they develop a Strategic Investment Plan and identify projects to revitalize their downtown areas.
The specific projects to be funded through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative include:
Creating Affordable Senior Housing – DRI Award: $2,500,000
Renovation of the M&T building will create senior housing, amenities for the residents, and commercial space, while maintaining the existing bank.
Enhancing Connectivity of Seeley Street – DRI Award: $1,800,000
Transform Seeley Street into a bicycle and pedestrian waterfront walkway by repaving the existing roadway and installing lighting and guide rails. This will connect Canal Place to Moss Island and the historic Lock 17.
Modernizing and Replacing the Iconic Main Street Canopy – DRI Award: $1,670,000
Redesign and modernize the iconic Main Street Canopy while retaining and preserving its historic character. Creating continuity of the canopy will benefit all businesses and visitors.
Improving Main Street Streetscape – DRI Award: $1,600,000
Improve the streetscape along the length of Main Street by including a separated two-way bike lane from Albany to Ann Street, green infrastructure between Ann and School Street, and repaving of the entire corridor.
Renovating Vacant Facility and Expand Public Access to Waterfront – DRI Award $640,000
Renovating a former hydroelectric facility into a vibrant space with offices for STEAM anchor tenants, a multipurpose community space, and a hub for film and movie production.
Establishing a Downtown Little Falls Fund to Support Small Business Development – DRI Award $600,000
Support smaller scale projects through the Downtown Little Falls Grant Fund such as façade improvements, signage, lighting, murals, and energy efficiency upgrades.
Enhancing Community Access and Use of the Little Falls Library – DRI Award $500,000
Increase accessibility of the Little Falls library with a new elevator shaft and elevator and transform its underutilized third floor into community spaces for counseling, GED prep, tutoring.
Increasing High-Quality Childcare and Community Services – DRI Award $390,000
Expand the Little Falls Youth & Family Center at its 45 Furnace Street location to increase the capacity of its existing childcare facility and redevelop the 524 E. Main Street location to accommodate an emergency childcare facility.
New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “The Little Falls community will benefit from these eight projects and build upon recent investments that connect the community to the waterfront along the Erie Canal. This $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award will go a long way toward increasing opportunities for residents, businesses and visitors to Little Falls. The Department of State looks forward to working with the city to bring its vision to life.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said,“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative provides cities with an opportunity for smart growth that benefits an entire community and Little Falls is no exception. Their strategic plan capitalizes on its waterfront assets, broadens housing choices, increases opportunities for small businesses, removes barriers to employment for families in need of childcare and creates a more walkable, bikeable downtown that is well positioned for future success.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Through the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we are supporting community-driven projects that boost our local economies and make a real impact on the everyday lives of New Yorkers. Today’s awards in Little Falls will create new affordable homes for seniors, transform Main Street into a more walkable and attractive corridor for visitors, upgrade public services for residents, and ultimately help the city grow and succeed as a cultural destination.”
State Senator Peter Oberacker said, “Little Falls won New York State DRI funding thanks to a plan that exhibited a compelling vision for economic development and community growth. These projects, conceived by local stakeholders, will highlight the city’s history while building for a successful future that will benefit Little Falls and the entire Mohawk Valley region.”
Assemblymember Brian Miller said, “The eight key projects that the City of Little Falls will undertake as part of their $10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Award is positive news not only for the City of Little Falls and its residents, but the entire Mohawk Valley region. The continued revitalization of Little Falls is critical to the economic success of the area. Little Falls has much to offer with unlimited potential to capitalize on its natural waterfront resources and rich cultural heritage. The key projects to be completed will unify downtown, spur additional investments business and otherwise on Main Street and Canal Place, as well as improve the quality of life in the city. I commend the City for its continued efforts to revitalize, strengthen and develop a vibrant sustainable downtown community through use of the DRI Award. The city’s exemplary projects are a testament of how DRI Awards can benefit communities and transform neighborhoods.”
Little Falls Mayor Mark Blask said, “Beyond grateful to Governor Hochuland Secretary of State Rodriguez. As the second smallest city in the state we appreciate Governor Hochul always looking out for the smaller communities. We look forward to improving the downtown district and making Little Falls an even more vibrant area to live and visit.”
Downtown Revitalization Initiative
New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, a cornerstone of its economic development program, transforms downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers that offer a high quality of life and are magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, and economic and housing diversity. Led by the Department of State with assistance from Empire State Development, Homes and Community Renewal and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative “plan-then-act” strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation and results in compact, walkable downtowns that are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the State’s bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles. More information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative is available here.