Question from Rick Pirozzolo, Executive Director of Elmira Downtown Development:
We're researching possibilities for River projects-the Chemung River runs through downtown Elmira, and there are five bridges crossing it within a mile. The flood of 1972 caused Elmira to build dikes and tearing down bankside buildings. We're finally ready to consider using the river to our advantage. So any insight other members might have in terms of resources, funding and project ideas would be helpful.
Ithaca Downtown Partnership, Ithaca:
One of the best river projects done in recent years is in Dayton, Ohio. It is written up in the December 2004 APA Journal. I was involved in helping to launch that initiative 8 or 9 years ago. It is a combination of recreation, commerce and entertainment.
If Elmira has some money, it might be valuable to bring in an IDA (Int'l DT Assoc) or AIA team to conduct an intensive 1-3 day review of the target area and make recommendations based on economic and physical data. This approach has helped a number of cities to get jump started on such projects.
Cortland County BDC-IDA, Cortland:
The single best source is the New York State Department of State Division of Coastal Resources. Get on the DSO web site, and then contact the coastal resources division-a ton of info, technical assistance, and great grant programs.
City of Mount Vernon:
The cities of Portchester and Yonkers are currently undergoing redevelopment of their riverfronts.
City of Watertown:
Watertown is currently undertaking a Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) through the Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources and I would highly recommend that Elmira look into doing the same. We also have a river that runs through Watertown, but it was always used for industrial purposes so the City "turned its back on it," now we are trying to rediscover the river and its recreational uses. The LWRP process has been great with lots of public involvement, and the DOS can put Elmira in touch with other communities that have already completed theirs. Also tell Elmira that Watertown is currently revamping their website andElmira's website has been touted as a model.
Downtown Auburn Business Improvement District, Auburn:
Downtown Auburn is actually in the middle of doing some waterfront revitalization right in our downtown and in the BID as well. Although the BID is an active partner in the whole process you should talk with the City of Auburn's planning department, this is where they are writing all the grants, etc.
Village of Saranac Lake:
Saranac Lake developed a River Walk, a linear parkway linking commercial, private, historic, non-profit property to the downtown district. The project opened up the area for walking and now provides access to the river and shopping not seen before. The project was funded with a multitude of sources, the largest being DOT enhancement and DOS Coastal Division. DOS would be the logical first step to see if they would fund, in part, a waterfront plan (LWRP) for the area. The other funding agencies will come on board once the community writes the plan. This project has won several awards for community partnership and innovative planning strategies.
City of Port Jervis:
There are two major sources of State funding that might assist in planning for redevelopment of the Elmira riverfront. One is administered through the NYS Department of State, Division of Coastal Resources (under Title 11 of the Environmental Protection Fund). They provide matching funds for a myriad of programs. We in the City of Port Jervis applied on June 30, 2004 for a Local Waterfront Revitalization program for our Delaware Riverfront.
In June of each year, the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation issues its NOFA for similar programs and activities with water access being a major priority. Good Luck with your riverfront development. It is your most valuable asset.
The LA Group, Landscape Architecture and Engineering, P.C, Saratoga Springs:I think the best program for you is the Department of State's LWRP (Local Waterfront Revitalization Program). The Chemung River qualifies under the inland waterways part of the coastal program.
I have worked on many of these LWRP's and have found that they best capture the comprehensive nature of combining environmental, recreational, cultural and economic development goals. It provides a significant amount of money towards the planning effort. Most communities look at a grant of $35,000-$45,000 which is doubled by a match from the community. The total cash part of the project should come in around $65,000-80,000.
The program has a lot of flexibility. The process is tedious but on the positive side it structures the process quite well for the community. You just need to have stamina! Grant applications will be available in April, probably due in June and announced whenever (anytime from September -December or even later).
The other option is the newly announced DOS Quality Communities Grant round. Applications are due on February 25th. Here are two weblinks where you can read about the program.
Preservation League of New York State
Please visit our website for sources of assistance for local projects atwww.preservenys.org. Another possible source is through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at http://www.hud.gov/offices/cpd/energyenviron/