In case you’ve been sequestered in a big jury trial, or on a self-induced sabbatical from all major (and minor) media outlets, I should start by telling you that the City of Geneva has been awarded a $10 million grant to support revitalization activities in our nationally-acclaimed downtown district.
The funding will be administered in alignment with a strategic investment plan, currently under development by a team of consultants, state agencies, staff, local stakeholders, and possibly you! The strategic investment plan will be heavily tied to the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council’s economic strategy, and most importantly, the City’s well-developed Comprehensive Plan.
The timeline is a quick one–the strategic investment plan must be approved by the local planning committee prior to February 28th, after which it will go to the Governor’s Office for final approval. Spending on critical projects could start as early as Summer, 2017. All of that to say: now is the time to get involved!
Back in October, the City and our DRI partners hosted a two-day planning session, which consisted of focus groups, a community brainstorming session, and a workshop for the local planning committee. The sessions yielded a wide range of ideas in the areas of economic opportunity, connectivity and transportation, civic amenities and green space, and private investment. The consultant team has been working on an analysis for project ideas to determine potential economic benefit, and is ready to present initial thoughts to the community and facilitate some prioritization of key investments.
Starting today, there will be a number of engagement opportunities for local stakeholders (i.e. you) to help shape the prioritization effort:
- Storefront: This one is unique to Geneva! The City is hosting drop-in engagement opportunities at a downtown storefront (contributed by Bob and Donna Stivers) at 425 Exchange Street. Storefront hours for this week are today from Noon to 5 p.m. No appointments are necessary, and bring your creativity cap!
- Focus Groups: A series of focus groups on economic opportunity, connectivity and transportation, arts and culture, civic amenities and green space, and private investment are being held at scattered sites around the City tonight, beginning at 5:30. Space is limited, so if you didn’t participate in October, but have an interest in one of these areas, please contact Sage Gerling at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Local Planning Committee: The Governor appointed a Local Planning Committee to provide local guidance and approval for the strategic investment plan. The Committee consists of local and regional stakeholders, who are charged with reviewing ideas generated from engagement sessions and prioritizing them for DRI investment. The public is invited to attend the Committee’s meetings to hear how deliberations are developing on the plan. The Local Planning Committee meets Thursday (12/15) at 1 p.m. at the Ramada.
- Public Design Session: As you may remember, the October design session focused on brainstorming every possible (good) idea for investment of DRI funds. This session will focus on prioritizing investment opportunities according to the priorities laid out in the program application and Comprehensive Plan. All are welcome, no RSVP is required. The design session begins at 6 p.m. at the Ramada.
- Website: The State of New York has developed a website specific to Geneva’s DRI effort. The site contains a feedback form, which allows all interested parties to submit ideas for the team’s consideration. The site also provides information on all meetings, including powerpoint presentations, meeting agendas, meeting notes, Local Planning Committee members, and much more.
So there you have it. Virtually limitless opportunities over the next few days to learn about the program, engage in shaping its future, and work alongside your Geneva peers toward creating a plan that will impact Geneva for years to come. Hope to see you there!