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Mayor Quill's statement re: Governor Cuomo's 2017 CNY DRI Announcement
October 6, 2017
Michael D. Quill


City of Auburn, New York

Mayor Michael D. Quill’s complete statement on Governor Cuomo’s 2017 Central New York Downtown Revitalization Initiative announcement:

“The Governor is to be credited for prioritizing revitalization of downtowns throughout upstate.  I am certain the Governor will not just walk away from the opportunity to create the over 500 new and construction jobs our 2017 Downtown Revitalization Initiative plan will create and I will be asking him to do as much as he can to assist us to move our downtown projects forward as fast as possible. We congratulate the City of Cortland and look forward to working with the Governor to move forward the downtown development projects we have here in Auburn.  With many years of significant positive growth our downtown is in a position of strength.  I want to thank the downtown small business owners, project developers, the Auburn BID, our State legislative representatives, our local and regional trade unions, and especially our City staff for assembling a dynamic 2017 DRI plan for our downtown and I encourage everyone not to be discouraged by the Governor’s decision.  We will continue to work together to move our downtown forward.”  -Mayor Michael D. Quill

Over 500 new and construction jobs would have moved full speed ahead in Downtown Auburn had the City received Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2017 $10 million Downtown Revitalization award, instead the City will continue efforts to work with small business owners and project developers on alternative methods to move the projects forward.

Many of the projects contained in the City of Auburn’s 2017 DRI have also submitted grant applications in the State’s 2017 Consolidated Funding Application process.  The following City of Auburn 2017 Downtown Revitalization Initiative Program projects also have applied for programs as part of the 2017 NYS Consolidated Funding Application process:

•             Auburn Public Theater (NYSCA- Workforce Investment & Facilities)- Facilities Improvements.   The Auburn Public Theater will be submitting a grant proposal to the NYSCA Workforce Investment, Round 7 for additional staff support for the theater, as well as, a grant proposal to the NYSCA Arts & Cultural Facilities Improvement Program for the renovation of the theater’s basement and street level space to create a café and additional program and event space.

•             City of Auburn, Local Waterfront Revitalization Program- Riverside Regional Public Market.  The City of Auburn is requesting funding assistance from the NYS Environmental Protection Fund Local Waterfront Revitalization Program for the design of a Regional Public Market along the Owasco River in the Market Street and Loop Road block of downtown.

•             Prison City Brewing Expansion.  Prison City Brewing will be submitting a grant proposal for Empire State Development Grant Funds in order to add a second location with larger brewery space to increase production, including a tasting room, retail area, event space and canning line to create a tourism destination and allow the sale of Auburn produced beers throughout the region and state.

•             Renovation of the Schines Theater into the Auburn Civic Theater.  Schines Theater, LLC  will be submitting a grant proposal for Empire State Development Grant Funds in order to create a multi-use facility for concerts, entertainment, theater productions, movies, events, banquets and gatherings

•             Cayuga Museum* (Environmental Protection Fund)- Stabilization of the Case Research Laboratory.  The Cayuga Museum submitted a proposal for a historic preservation planning grant for the stabilization of the Case Research Laboratory.  The stabilization of the Case Research Laboratory will allow the museum to preserve one of Auburn’s most significant historical treasures and increase its capacity to develop new programs aimed at increasing cultural tourism in our city and region.

The list of development projects contained in the City of Auburn’s 2017 DRI application are as follows:

• Prison City Brewing intends to expand their operation by adding a riverfront brewery in downtown. Located on the old Nolan’s Store block of downtown this project will be both Riverfront Development & a Craft Brewery Expansion that will result in approximately 50 construction jobs and create 20 Full Time Equivalent jobs.

• The Good Shepherds Brewing Company will renovate and occupy the first floor of a key downtown building that has been vacant for many years (the old PBJ on the Corner). The first phase of this project will relocate the brewery and tasting room to the street level retail space on the corner.  The second phase of their project is to renovate the second and third stories into office space and residential apartments. The project will require about 14 construction jobs, and it is anticipated that at least 5 Full Time Equivalent jobs will be created for the brewery alone.  Additional jobs will be created or supported by other commercial tenants.

• The expansion of Auburn Public Theater will advance the cultural vision of the downtown, as well as create an estimated 15 Full Time Equivalent jobs and 30 constructions jobs. The first component is the complete renovation of the building’s lower level to address the need for flexible space that could be used for larger performances, community events and classes. This includes an elevator for handicap accessibility and public assembly. This will increase APT programming, income and job creation.

• The Schine Theater project will restore a long vacant historical theater and convert it into a multi-use civic center.  City of Auburn Brownfield Opportunity Area SPARKS Study identifies this historic site for strategic redevelopment. As the owners, the Cayuga County Arts Council (CCAC) has entered into an MOU with Bowers Development of Auburn, NY for the complete transfer of ownership and rehabilitation of this site. 

• KyleCroft Development will restore three vacant buildings known as the Nolan Block in downtown to create up to 5 storefronts and 14 residential apartments. The new housing would increase residency and further support commercial activity in the area. It is anticipated that commercial tenants will create 25 Full Time Equivalent jobs and that the project will require 50 construction jobs.

• Develop a Regional Public Market on the Owasco Riverfront area of the downtown.  The public market will provide a new and dynamic home for the Auburn Farmer’s Market will and include streetscape improvements, park landscape improvements, a pedestrian bridge and a market pavilion. The downtown riverside neighborhood designated for this project would include the following areas: Genesee Street from NYS Route 34 to Market Street; NYS Route 34 from Genesee Street to the Arterial; and both sides of the river including Loop Road & all of Market Street.

• The Rudolf Building Restoration (99 Genesee Street) will create new housing downtown which will support area businesses. The vacant street level space will be converted into a new retail candy shop creating approximately 5 Full Time Equivalent jobs.  Approximately 10 construction jobs are expected as well.

• The East Hill Park Community project will be located between E. Genesee St. and the Arterial off of John Street and will create additional residential units in the downtown area to support area businesses. The housing development will create 1 Full Time Equivalent job for property management and 50 construction jobs.  R&M Associates, LLC believes that a dramatic transformation of John Street and Arterial West, one of the main gateways to our community, will have far reaching, positive impacts upon Downtown Auburn.

•  Establish a Cayuga Culinary Center in Downtown - Cayuga Community College stands committed to responding to the emerging needs of Cayuga County and the City of Auburn by supporting our workforce, fostering community partnerships, and, by extension, creating jobs throughout the region.  In alignment with the CNYREDC Plan to strengthen targeted industry connections, Cayuga’s long-term strategic initiatives include the creation of a Hospitality Management Program offering certificates or Associates degrees in culinary arts, food service management, hotel management, travel and tourism, and event planning.  Through a partnership with Cayuga Community College the Culinary Center project could begin in Summer 2018 and be established by 2020. This project provides much needed workforce development for the growing tourism/hospitality, food and beverage sector employers.

• Enhanced Tourist Services.   The new Downtown Welcome Center is designed to welcome the significant increase of travelers to Auburn at a visible central location in the City’s Downtown located on the NYS Harriet Tubman Memorial Highway (NYS RT 34).  A comprehensive downtown pedestrian and vehicular wayfinding plan is needed for downtown Auburn to be prepared for increased visitor travel to the city.  Establishment of a tourist transportation shuttle will provide a direct link between our downtown and our City’s historic and cultural sites all located within the downtown area or within 1 mile of the district boundary. 

• Create a new Arts District to include an ‘Avenue of the Arts’ along Genesee Street.  To connect the center of our downtown with arts and cultural venues on the western edge of the downtown district an Avenue of the Arts will be established.  Anchored in the center of our downtown by the soon to be established NYS Cultural Heritage Welcome Center and the Auburn Public Theater, an ‘Avenue of the Arts’ will extend one-half mile towards the western edge of the district boundary to transform the western side of the Genesee Street Corridor aesthetically, socially, economically, and culturally.  The ‘Avenue of the Arts’ will make a direct connection to the following arts and cultural institutions: the Cayuga Museum of History and Art, the Theodore Case Research Lab, the Theater Mack, the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, the Seymour Public Library, the Veteran’s Memorial Park, and the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park site located on Parker Street. 

• Improve downtown parking and transportation.   The Centro Bus Terminal is critical to support out of town visitation to the new Auburn Cultural Heritage Welcome Center and the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park.   The current Centro terminal on Lincoln Street will be relocated elsewhere on Loop Road to accommodate expansion in ridership.  A new and improved Centro Bus Terminal will be established.   The City of Auburn is the owners and operators of the municipal Parking Garage located on Lincoln Street in downtown Auburn. From the public participation meetings there is interest to improve the wayfinding signage, safety and pedestrian-friendliness of the garage.   Creation of a comprehensive parking education plan and improvements to parking infrastructure are also proposed to support the local growing tourism industry.

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