What will Cortland do with $10 million? Committee weighs final options

Members of the Local Planning Committee met at the TC3 Extension Center Thursday night (contributed photo)

CORTLAND, N.Y. — Thursday marked the final meeting of the Local Planning Committee, which is tasked with deciding how $10 million that was awarded to the City of Cortland as part of the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative should be spent to improve economic growth.

It was the fifth and final meeting of the Local Planning Committee, which was made up of both local and state officials.

Here are some highlights from Thursday's meeting:

  • The results of the public support "votes" at the last public meeting were reviewed. There were 90 attendees and 85 responses. Feedback was similar to earlier expressed opinions. There is a broad consensus of support for the public projects. Public infrastructure was the top priority, while arts and entertainment projects came in second. There is also a lot of support for the public investment fund—money that can be lent out for other future development projects.
  • The SUNY drone project has changed location. It will be in the Crescent Commons. The original proposed location was outside the catchment area.
  • There was a motion made and passed to send the final list of projects to New York State for review and approval. New York State will have to winnow out a few projects as list is about $12 million & amount granted is 9.7 million. A list of projects can be found here. Projects that did not make this proposal may be considered in future, or may apply to take advantage of the public investment fund (if that is approved by New York State).
  • Next step is the finalization of the Strategic Investment Plan and framework for implementation by the consultants. This will be submitted to the state in March. State will then review with an anticipated announcement of the state-approved projects in June. Each project will be assigned to a state agency for oversight and guidance.
  • The projects in the plan are complimentary in that they are in close proximity and should feed off one another and serve as a catalyst for future development projects. In the future, the community will need local "champions" to advocate and support projects and maintain institutional knowledge. The suggestion was made to develop a "dashboard" for the projects that will be available to the public for tracking purposes. Some projects may have a long design and permitting process.
  • The consultants thanked the community for engaging in such a rewarding & transformative process. The Mayor said the DRI is a vote of confidence in Cortland's future.