Monday, December 13, 2021

Tupper Lake lands $10M downtown revitalization award

Downtown Tupper Lake by Mike Lynch

State to Work with Residents, Community Leaders and Public Officials to Revitalize Tupper Lake’s Downtown

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that Tupper Lake will receive $10 million in funding as one of the North Country region winners of the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). As part of DRI Round 5, each of the state’s 10 regional economic development regions are being awarded $20 million, to make for a total state commitment of $200 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their post COVID-19 economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods.

“Vibrant downtowns play a crucial role in allowing communities to thrive and through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, New York is helping ensure our local partners have the resources they need to transform these areas,” Governor Hochul said. “With this funding, Tupper Lake will not only be able to improve the quality of life for those who live there, but also ensure this community remains a gem of the Adirondacks and destination for tourists from around the globe.”

Lieutenant Governor Brian Benjamin said, “As we continue to build back from COVID-19, the State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a critical tool to help communities across New York recover. The $10 million in funding awarded to Tupper Lake will help their community achieve more vibrant neighborhoods and boost the post COVID-19 economy.”

Led by the Department of State, the DRI serves as a cornerstone of the State’s economic development policy by transforming downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers of activity that offer a high quality of life and attract redevelopment, businesses, jobs, and economic and housing diversity.  In this round, Governor Hochul doubled funding from $100 million to $200 million and allowed each Regional Economic Development Council to decide whether to nominate two $10 million awardees or one $20 million awardee for transformative and catalytic downtown redevelopment projects. Like past DRI rounds, each selected community will develop a strategic plan through a bottom-up, community-based planning process that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have the potential to transform the downtown and leverage further private and public investments. DRI funds will then be awarded for selected projects that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and realize the community’s vision for the downtown. Through the DRI, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) will provide technical support to the awardees to assist them with including carbon neutral principles in support of the state’s goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050.

Tupper Lake

Tupper Lake’s DRI will focus on the Uptown District. Tupper Lake is a resurgent Adirondack community that aims to make their community a nationally-recognized, vibrant, four-season Adirondack destination through the ongoing revitalization of their compact, walkable, waterfront Uptown District. The village has a proven track record of downtown revitalization with over $16 million in private investment and nearly $50 million in public investment in or near the Uptown District since 2014, including $30 million in upgrades to essential municipal services and the $48.3 million Wild Center, which happens to be the first LEED-certified building in the Adirondacks. Continuing this momentum, Tupper Lake aims to increase tourist amenities, enhance their streetscapes, and create new housing and entertainment options.

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council conducted a thorough and competitive review process of proposals submitted from communities throughout the region and considered all seven criteria below before recommending Tupper Lake as one of the nominees:

  • The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
  • 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, income, gender, identity, ability, mobility and cultural background;
  • 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;
  • The municipality has the local capacity to manage the DRI process; and
  • The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for near-term implementation with an infusion of DRI funds.

Tupper Lake now joins the Village of Massena as the North Country Region’s winners of the fifth round of the DRI. Plattsburgh, Watertown, Saranac Lake and Potsdam were the North Country Region’s winners in the first four DRI rounds, respectively.

Tupper Lake 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 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. The Strategic Investment Plan 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 the DRI’s fifth round will be complete in 2022.

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5 Responses

  1. Mike Bopp says:

    Tupper Lake had its chance at revitalization in the Adirondack Club and Resort project. Residents and organizations filed frivolous lawsuits they eventually lost but in the process bankrupted the developers. Now they expect $10M funding from the state to turn that around? You can’t have a 4-season destination when Big Tupper is still closed, and the snowmobile season is becoming later and shorter due to climate change. The main attraction is still the Wild Center, and the impact of the rail trail project remains to be seen.

    • Big Burly says:

      The restart of rail transportation in 2022 will contribute to the renaissance of the community. New Town Board, a tourism recreation plan already in place, leadership in the biz community. The ACR may yet become viable again. The $10M is not a cure all, but it will help.

      • ben says:

        What rail transportation. A train running occasionally from Tupper Lake to Old Forge is nothing to jump[ for joy about. In the time it will take a train to run from Utica to Old Forge & then sit all day waiting for the train to run from Old Forge to Tupper Lake IS A JOKE & WILL REMAIN A JOKE! You can drive from Utica to Tupper Lake in 2/12 – 3 hrs, while a train ride will WASTE a entire DAY!

    • Mike says:

      Bopp, You might want to check the facts on the ACR, nobody “bankrupted the developers”. They never had any money. They screwed every contractor the hired. They even screwed the very Lawyers the hired to get them through the permitting process, to the tune of $9 Milliion.

  2. Charlie Stehlin says:

    “Tupper Lake had its chance at revitalization in the Adirondack Club and Resort project.”

    A little imagination (a thing which is apparently lacking) can go a long ways. Why does it always have to be the wilderness, or places pure and sacred, that are sacrificed in order for revitalization to take shape, to fill the town coffers or appease the townspeople and their wallets?