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2 North Country communities eye Downtown Revitalization Initiative money

Published: Aug. 31, 2021 at 5:08 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 1, 2021 at 5:44 AM EDT
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PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (WCAX) - The Downtown Revitalization Initiative or DRI is a New York state-funded grant that gives communities $10 million to bring life to their downtowns. Since the program’s start in 2016, Plattsburgh and Saranac Lake have benefited from the big bucks and now two other North Country communities have their eyes on the DRI prize.

“We decided we are going to lean in and go after it,” Plattsburgh Town Supervisor Michael Cashman said.

Cashman says the town of Plattsburgh is using the town’s “Smart Growth Plan” as the base of its DRI application.

“We believe that the DRI could be the accelerant to see those things come to fruition much, much quicker and it’s something that we want within our community,” Cashman said.

The town wants to spruce up the Route 3 corridor and make affordable housing a priority.

The plans call for more parking, bike lanes and walking opportunities to places like the grocery store, health facilities and other essential needs.

Cashman says it’s important to make sure the community backs the projects the money would fund and it would benefit the entire region.

“We want it to be something that our community wants and that’s why we are bringing about plans that have been publicly vetted,” he said.

Over in Tupper Lake, Village Mayor Paul Maroun says housing is also a top priority.

“We have several projects that are shovel ready,” said Maroun, R-Tupper Lake

The community hopes to build up its downtown which in turn would bring in more visitors, funneling the money into the arts center, turning the OWD factory into a mixed-use building of housing and businesses, building a hotel and improvements to Park Street.

“When you have things that are starting to come here, I think people will start looking at places like Tupper Lake, they are not as congested, not as crowded as some of the bigger cities around us,” Maroun said.

The mayor says $10 million can bring a real change and opportunity to the community.

“There really is a lot going on,” he said. “And it’s right in the pattern of what the DRI was established for, to revitalize town areas with communities that can’t do it by themselves.”

The applications are due by Sept. 15.

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