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Governor Cuomo Announces City of Rome as $10 Million Mohawk Valley Region Winner of Second-Round Downtown Revitalization Initiative

State to Collaborate with Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council to Revitalize the City of Rome's Downtown

Part of Governor's Comprehensive Approach to Transform Communities into Vibrant Neighborhoods and Boost Local Economies

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced that the City of Rome will receive $10 million in funding and investments as the Mohawk Valley winner of the second round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. As in the first round of the DRI, one municipality from each of the state's 10 economic development regions will be selected as a $10 million winner, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities identify catalytic downtown projects to boost the local economy.

"This investment is the latest step in our strategic efforts to help the Mohawk Valley's economy grow and prosper," Governor Cuomo said. "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative engages local communities and creates new opportunities for growth to attract new businesses and young people and help downtowns across New York thrive."

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The past decade of targeted investments in environmental design, placemaking, tourist destinations, entrepreneurial innovation, and transportation choices have prepared Rome for the DRI. Weighing the eight criteria below the Mohawk Valley Regional Economic Development Council's reviewed Rome's proposal for downtown revitalization, together with the proposals from other participant communities from the Mohawk Valley region before recommending Rome as its nominee for winner:

  • The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
  • The municipality, or the downtown's catchment area, should be of sufficient size to support a vibrant, year-round downtown;
  • The downtown is able to capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment in the neighborhood and its surrounding areas;
  • There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;
  • The downtown must be an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, including existing residents, millennials and skilled workers;
  • The municipality should already embrace or have the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes and parking standards, complete streets plans, energy efficient projects, green jobs, and transit-oriented development;
  • The municipality should have conducted an open and robust community engagement process resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives that may be included in a DRI strategic investment plan; and
  • The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for implementation with an infusion of DRI funds within the first one to two years.

"This investment is the latest step in our strategic efforts to help the Mohawk Valley's economy grow and prosper."

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo

Rome's second-round DRI win entitles it to receive $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize its downtown neighborhoods and generate new opportunities for long-term growth. Rome now joins the City of Oneonta, which was the Mohawk Valley region's winner in the first DRI round.


The downtown area targeted for Downtown Revitalization Initiative investment in the City of Rome is rich in commercial, cultural, transportation, and recreational assets that support a vibrant and walkable place within the city. The catalytic projects that will be implemented by the DRI will further the job growth in advanced manufacturing, cyber technology, unmanned systems, and craft food & beverage manufacturing that are is already transforming the region.

The city plans to further development and inspire innovation, facilitate residential repatriation, promote arts-based businesses, encourage alternate transportation, and celebrate diversity. With a boost from DRI, Rome will provide the ecosystem necessary to attract and retain young professionals and their families.

Rome will now begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown Rome will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, "The City of Rome's existing commercial, cultural and transportation assets are ripe for creating a vibrant walkable downtown area. As the second round winner of the Mohawk Valley Downtown Revitalization Initiative award, Rome will further the development of its downtown space, inspiring innovation, increasing livability, promoting arts-based businesses and encouraging alternative transportation."

Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Rome's winning plan will build on recent investments that have the city on the cusp of transformation. The plan is community-focused and locally-driven, and recommends strategic, public-private investments - and those factors helped the City of Rome win $10 million to revitalize their community."

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding will help invigorate Rome's downtown, offering opportunities for job creation and economic growth, while also making the area more livable to keep existing residents and attract new ones. The Department of State will continue to work closely with municipalities across New York State to help develop communities, including those in their downtowns."

NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative helps breathe new life and bring new opportunities into cities like Rome, putting them on a path to prosperity. This $10 million investment in Rome is part of a strategic goal to harness the amazing assets of downtowns across the state—increasing access to housing, creating jobs and attracting cultural and recreational opportunities, and enriching and improving quality of life in the entire region."

Senator Joseph A. Griffo said, "As a former mayor of Rome, I know firsthand the challenges small cities face across the state. That is why this critical funding is so important. It will help Rome continue to transform into a vibrant community and help to revitalize the city. I appreciate Gov. Cuomo for recognizing the importance of investing in cities like Rome. These projects will help position the city for a bright and exciting future and will make it a better place for its hard-working residents, families and business owners."

Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi said, "Downtown Rome already has the ingredients to be a magnet attracting people who want to work, live, and raise their family in a vibrant urban area. This funding will help the City and its partners to harness those assets, and further revitalize the center city area to develop quality housing, encourage new enterprises to invest in the area, and draw more visitors. I want to thank Governor Cuomo for developing a unique program that is bringing new life to downtowns across New York. I also want to congratulate the City of Rome for putting together a winning application that will ensure its continued successful redevelopment in the years to come."

The downtown Rome Strategic Investment Plan, as well as the plans developed by the other nine DRI winners, will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the community's vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment. Plans for DRI's second round will be complete in early 2018.

Oneida County Executive, Anthony J Picente, Jr. said, "By collaborating with business, civic and academic leaders and the unyielding support of Governor Cuomo and the state, we are witnessing positive change and a dramatic uptick in Oneida County's economy. From the reconstruction of the Griffis Veterans Memorial Parkway to the attraction of new businesses at QUAD-C, the Governor continues to support job creation across the Mohawk Valley. This new funding will take the City of Rome's revitalization to the next level, and I applaud Governor Cuomo and all who made this investment possible."

City of Rome Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo said, "I thank Governor Cuomo for recognizing the potential that lives right here in the Mohawk Valley, and investing to help that potential grow. This funding will help foster our small business economy, bringing the city of Rome to the highest height. I look forward to working with Governor Cuomo to make Rome's bright economic future even brighter."

For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to: https://www.ny.gov/programs/downtown-revitalization-initiative