Homer Avenue project close to beginning stages

(Photo Source: Unsplash).

The Homer Avenue portion of the recurring Gateway project is close to the beginning stages, mayor Brian Tobin said at Tuesday’s city of Cortland Common Council meeting.

Full details on the entirety of the project is yet to be determined. Tobin noted, however, a slew of buildings on the Homer Avenue stretch from the city that goes through the town of Cortlandville and ends in the village of Homer “are underutilized.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, council members voted 5-0 in favor of making Cortland the lead agency for the project. Discussions on the project began back in 2011 with the town of Cortlandville and the village of Homer, but Tobin mentioned that both municipalities are still on board “to collaborate on the project.”

Tobin gave credit to Thoma Development Consultants of Cortland for anchoring the partnership between the three municipalities.

“It’s taken a couple of years, but this is an area of the city that we can re-envision and reimagine,” he added. “It’s not just going to benefit the city, but the two municipalities up north as well.”

Scott Burto, owner of WCP Consultants, is in the process of submitting infrastructure upgrade grant applications for the project.

Burto noted funding for the project will be approached “like the Clinton Avenue project,” which is currently supported by six agencies who are providing grant funding.

According to Burto, possible grant opportunities for the project include agencies in support of empire state development, the green infrastructure program, the water quality and improvement program and the climate smart grant.

The green infrastructure program “pays for 100% of the project that has aspects of green infrastructure” for bioretention basins and storm water drainage, Burto said.

The water quality and improvement program provides up to 75% in grant coverage, which Burto said will help cover a majority of the costs for storm and wastewater infrastructure, and a collection system.

The climate smart grant can provide up to $1 million in possible grant funds. Burto noted this grant helps to cover costs for sidewalks, bike lanes, paving and more.

“These parts are separated in different applications to maximize the grant dollars for the project,” Burto said.

“I know this is going to take some years and this is just the first step, but this project is going to be excellent for the community,” said councilperson Bruce Tytler (D-3rd Ward).