Homer gets final state approval for over 10 DRI projects

Improving the Homer Festival Grounds is one of 11 DRI projects to receive final approval from the state. The Village of Homer is now able to spend the rest of its DRI funding to begin working on the projects. (Rendering provided by New York State).

Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that the Village of Homer received its final New York State approval for over 10 Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects.

Hochul made the announcement on Wednesday (May 22) that Homer can now use $9.7 million of the $10 million DRI funding to start the work on 11 projects. The village was awarded the funding during a ceremony in February of last year.

Renderings of Homer’s upcoming DRI projects can be seen here.

According to a release, details on Homer’s 11 DRI projects are as follows (Details provided by the state):

Improve the Homer Festival Grounds ($1,420,000) – The village will improve the Homer Festival Grounds, creating an appealing amenity in the DRI Area with the development of an east/west pathway from Main Street and overflow parking areas for downtown events. Greening of the entire area will include pavement reduction, new sidewalks, introduction of additional grass and trees throughout, rain gardens, naturalized stormwater outfall and small craft boat launch.

Restore the Village Food Market Interior ($139,000) – Owners of Homer’s Village Food Market, a Main Street fixture for nearly 200 years, will update the interior of the grocery store. The project will complement the exterior façade restoration done in 2012 with new flooring, grab-and-go-counter and butcher counter, accessible rear entrance and handicapped parking to provide 21st century service in a charming and attractive restored setting.

Initiate Redevelopment of the Historic Little White Church ($1,170,000) – The Homer Center for the Arts will undertake the first of four phases of restoration and renovation of the Little White Church on the Village Green, transforming Homer’s first religious building into the Homer Cultural Center. The vision for the Homer Cultural Center is a venue for meetings, events, programs and festivals for the Village of Homer, Homer Central School District, Landmark Society of Cortland County, Homer Center for the Arts and more.

Develop a Boutique Hotel ($3,500,000) – A new boutique hotel will transform the 1825 Manor at Briggs Hall, 11 N. Main St. The 34-room full-service hotel with dining, lounge and conference facilities will be attached to a Wellness Spa to be developed in the neighboring property.

Administer a Small Projects Fund ($500,000) – The village will administer a fund to finance interior and exterior building improvements and improve the aesthetic appeal of downtown’s historic buildings. Improvements can include façade improvements, installation of new exterior lighting, replacement windows, code and safety updates and handicapped accessibility improvements.

Create a Downtown Marketing & Signage Program ($300,000) – The village will create downtown promotional materials, wayfinding and gateway signage to draw more visitors into Historic Homer and help define the downtown area. The program will enhance the DRI area for drivers and pedestrians and promote downtown Homer’s unique destinations.

Develop a Wellness Spa ($500,000) – A deteriorating residential building will be transformed into a Wellness Spa designed to pamper and rejuvenate body and soul with services that include hair styling, manicures and pedicures, saunas, facials and body treatments. The 3,000 square-foot destination for Homer residents and visitors will be connected to a boutique hotel, proposed under a separate DRI project submission.

Develop Commercial Space on Wall Street ($396,000) – The 11 Wall St. building will undergo extensive renovation and restoration evocative of a Victorian-era train station. The mixed-use development will include a café, indoor and outdoor seating, local art and gift items, an area to display the works of local artists and a performance area are also planned. A trail to the Tioughnioga River will lead patrons to the water’s edge.

Construct a Riverwalk Overlook ($652,000) – The Village will construct a Riverwalk Overlook on the banks of the Tioughnioga River at the Homer Festival Grounds. This project is the anchor for a future Riverwalk, a long-imagined multi-use waterfront pathway that will be developed in phases. The overlook will feature a plaza that can host small outdoor events and where residents and visitors can linger on the water’s edge.

Develop a Commercial Kitchen, Community Center, and Year- Round Farmers Market ($823,000) – Seven Valleys Health Coalition in partnership with Cortland Collective Impact Initiatives will renovate a 4,600 square-foot space at 41 James St. to include licensed commercial kitchen and multi-use space for a year-round farmers market and community center offering low- and no-cost programs, performance and rehearsal venue, and rental classrooms for educators and instructors.

Restore the Historic Water Street Bridge ($300,000) – The historic double lenticular truss Water Street Bridge will be restored, reopening it for pedestrian use. Safety and aesthetic improvements include painting, lighting, and railings compliant with environmental, transportation and historic preservation agency requirements.