News in Cortland NY

Cortland Downtown Partnership Awarded $200,000 State Grant

The non-profit Cortland Downtown Partnership has been awarded a $200,000 grant from the New York State Office of Community Renewal. Through the State’s Main Street program the Cortland Downtown Partnership will receive $200,000 to help update downtown storefronts, redevelop second and third story residential units, and update streetscape amenities.

In previous years, New York State Main Street Funding leveraged federal and private funds to increase the supply of tenable street-level commercial space in historic downtown’s business district. The Cortland Downtown Partnership will now focus development efforts on the vacant and marginally used upper stories of downtown’s historic buildings.

“Cortland has a history of leveraging New York State Main Street funds against Federal and local investments,” said Lloyd Purdy, Director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership. “I think our success in getting this grant this year has a lot to do with previous work done by Mayor Tom Gallagher and Bernie Thoma from Thoma Development.”

Increased population density downtown means greater demand for the goods and services provided by downtown businesses. Increased residency rates downtown turns a “daytime” downtown into a 24/7 downtown activated by people working and living in their community. Most importantly the renovation of upper-story units in historic downtown Cortland encourages the evolution of the district into a true neighborhood that supports social and cultural development along with commercial development.

“The rehabilitation of residential space in second, third, and fourth stories generates a range of benefits for our community.” said Lloyd Purdy, Director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership. “When people live downtown, they shop downtown, eat downtown, and work downtown. Developing more residential units in historic downtown Cortland is as much about economic development as it is about community development.”

The grant awarded to the non-profit Cortland Downtown Partnership will act as an incentive for private development. This fall, local property owners in downtown Cortland will be invited to submit competitive applications for these limited funds. Once projects are authorized and completed, property owners will be reimbursed for a portion of their expenditures.

“This grant really builds upon our Federal Grant from the National Park Service, where we’ve been able to retain an architect to work with some downtown property owners.” Said Lloyd Purdy, Executive Director of the Cortland Downtown Partnership. “With this new financial assistance from the New York State Main Street grant we will be able to turn these conceptual ideas into bricks and mortar projects.”

Historic downtown Cortland is located in a local, State, and federal historic district. All projects are subject to review by the State Historic Preservation Office. In addition, all projects are subject to review by the City of Cortland’s Historic Architectural Review Board.

The New York Main Street program received 72 applications that met basic eligibility requirements, from 42 different counties; an increase from last year’s funding round. Staff evaluated the applications in accordance with program criteria, including: community need, residential and commercial impact on the community and historical preservation issues to name a few.

A grand total of $8,632,500 in NYMS funds have been awarded to 45 applicants from 34 counties across New York State. With this fifth funding round completed, New York Main Street’s total contribution to aid in the revitalization and preservation of New York’s downtowns is over $42 million, in over 130 different communities, throughout 59 counties in New York State.