Village’s riverwalk project axed from DRI plans

(Photo provided by the Village of Homer).

A riverwalk in the village of Homer, a highly coveted project by some village officials and residents, was axed at Thursday’s Local Planning Committee (LPC) meeting. 

Emma Phillips, a consultant overseeing the approval process of the village’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) projects, said a riverwalk was “just not feasible.” The riverwalk would have stretched about 1,500 feet, but was ultimately too costly and missed the mark on some of the criteria established by New York state.

“There's so much that has to be done so far, that it wouldn’t do the village a service because it would cost so much,” Phillips said. “There is also so much to do on it, that it won’t happen as immediately as it should.”

The riverwalk will remain on the village’s list of priorities in the DRI application, which Phillips said can help when trying to garner financial support in the future.

“The riverwalk is there as a priority project,” she said, adding that there is a basic idea of what the project could entail. “The village should take that and run with it and make it happen.”

Phillips, a planner with C&S Companies, said the project would have likely consumed the village’s DRI allocation. 

On Thursday, she presented a survey of the most popular projects, which polled 300 village residents. The survey yielded a long list of projects that totaled close to $24 million in state spending and $60 million in total investment for 31 projects. Phillips said the list will have to be distilled down to about $14 million, in DRI spending. State officials will then make a determination on what projects to prioritize.

Residents on a Zoom call said they were eyeing projects that were transformative in nature, hence being drawn to the riverwalk. Ultimately, Phillips said the community sentiment was aligned in providing opportunities for businesses to grow, investing in historic buildings and spaces, and improving and expanding public spaces.

The next meeting will be on Sept. 7. Highlights of the LPC meetings can be found here.