READY TO SUBMIT — Kimberly Baptiste, left, of Bergmann Associates presents the final details of the city’s Strategic Investment Plan to the public Thursday. The city will submit that plan to the state for approval of which projects to fund and how much each will get out of the $10 million in Downtown Revitalization Initiative the state has awarded Rome. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

City finalizes proposal for $10M downtown revitalization plan

Published Mar 23, 2018 at 4:00pm

By STEVE JONES

Staff writer

The city presented the proposal it will submit to the state to the public Thursday for how to split up the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative funds it will receive. There were no significant changes compared to February’s revised plan.

The Local Planning Committee co-chaired by Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo and Mohawk Valley EDGE’s Steven DiMeo met Thursday afternoon to ratify the final application.

A public information meeting was then held. Both were overseen by project consultant Bergmann Associates.

The Strategic Investment Plan defines prioritized projects to be submitted to New York State for approval and funding. It also outlines the target area for the projects and funds. 

The city must submit its Strategic Investment Plan for state approval by March 29.

The final plan covers a 160-acre area and includes 12 projects totaling $12.72 million in DRI funds.

The state will cull the list by either removing projects or reducing the amount of money to be contributed to certain projects so that the final number equals the $10 million commitment.

Here are details for the final dozen projects, broken down by how much DRI funding would be earmarked for each:

  • $2.5 million for demolition of the Liberty-George parking garage and temporary surface level parking there.
    The long-term plan, which will not receive DRI funding, is
    for housing — about 26 to 34 units.
  • $2.5 million for the the Capitol Theatre’s expansion project.
  • $1.88 million for enhancements at City Hall that include an enclosure on the first floor and security upgrades.
  • $1.35 million for upgrades to the Liberty-James parking garage.
  • $1.2 million for streetscape improvements.
  • $900,000 to help an unnamed Rome business relocate to the former Rome Cable site so it can expand. The proposal, called “Project Blue Crab,” is for a Rome light manufacturing company to relocate into a 50,000 square foot facility with 35 existing jobs then add 15 or more jobs within a year by adding a third shift. The total project cost is estimated at $5.5 million. The company’s name is being kept confidential until terms of the relocation are finalized.
  • $600,000 for business retention program ($500,000) and public art fund ($100,000). These were combined into one fund but with no change to the individual funding proposals.
  • $500,000 for mixed use development at 183 W. Dominick St. The city is working with a developer on a specific project there, officials noted.
  • $490,000 for enhancements at the Griffo Green at City Hall.
  • $400,000 for a downtown Centro transportation center.
  • This would be a shelter to replace the one on the 300 block of West Dominick Street. It would be located on the sidewalk just west of the entrance to the City Hall parking lot on West Liberty Street. This could include narrowing the street to one lane in each direction to make room for a dedicated bus lane there.
  • $250,000 for the REACH center arts incubator.
  • $150,000 for a downtown way finding system.

“We’re going to have construction going on here for the next 24 months,” said Izzo of the pace
once the projects get approved.

Two of the most talked about projects at the public meeting were the bus stop and the future of the Liberty-George parking garage site.

One resident of Georgian Arms apartments across George Street from the parking garage asked that the surface level parking by the long-term use for the site rather than just temporary. She noted that residents who no longer can park at the garage must park at the nearby Madison Plaza apartments and walk home.

Criticisms of the Centro bus stop were varied: the narrowed street, visibility in and out of the parking lot around the shelter, lack of heat and bathrooms at the facility, snow removal on site.