City makes plans for $10M downtown facelift


The projects the state approves for Rome’s $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant will start quickly, according to Mayor Jacqueline M. Izzo.

The city, in partnership with its Local Planning Committee for the grant, must cull its list of proposed projects down and submit the list to the state for final approval.

The intention is to send out Requests for Proposals on all projects immediately after state approval, the mayor said. Rome has more or less two years to do all approved projects.

What does it mean to Rome’s future to have the state make such a commitment to/investment in the Copper City? “The first piece that we’re seeing is the private sector stepping up to do housing” at the soon-to-be-vacant site of the Liberty-George parking garage, potentially $17 million from a particular developer already in talks with the city, the mayor said.

The Capitol Theatre is using private funds. In-fill on West Dominick Street will allow property owners there to bring in private development.

Here are the priority projects the city wants to fund with DRI money:

  • Adaptive re-use of space along West Dominick Street’s 200 block for smaller business projects. The $500,000 project could be entirely funded through the DRI.
  • Arts-based Innovation Hot Spot at the REACH Center. Half of the $500,000 project could be funded through the DRI.
  • Zion Church historic preservation and community center, a partnership with Rome Main Street Alliance. The $1 million project could get $300,000 in DRI funding. The $800,000 project could be entirely funded through the DRI.
  • City Green. The centerpiece would be a 120-by-80-foot outdoor skating rink that would be installed and removed each winter.
  • City Hall enhancement. The upgrades would include a new enclosed entry atrium as well as ADA-compliant facilities. The project is estimated at $3 million, of which $2.4 million could be DRI-funded.
  • Centro hub. The bus service would add a small downtown hub on West Liberty Street along the sidewalk next to the entrance to the City Hall parking lot. The $480,000 project could be entirely funded through the DRI.
  • Capitol Theatre upgrades. The $4 million project could receive as much as $2.5 million in DRI funds.
  • Liberty-George Parking Garage transformation. Demolition of a 40-year-old parking structure on a two-acre site and private development of apartments. The entire project could cost $17 million, with $3.4 million from DRI.
  • Liberty-James Parking Garage upgrades. The cost would be $2.6 million, of which $1.35 million could be from DRI.
  • Downtown wayfinding signage. The $150,000 project could be entirely funded through the DRI.
  • Public art funding. The $150,000 project could be entirely funded through the DRI.
  • West Dominick Infill Development. New mixed use development with Erie Boulevard-level parking with new buildings in the area across West Dominick Street from City Hall where there is surface parking now. The project would be for $3.4 million, of which $500,000 could come from DRI.

There will be a few more steps before the city submits its list to the state. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has stressed that the DRI program should spur further development. 

There will be a final committee meeting at 3 p.m. Feb. 20, at the REACH Center, 209 W. Dominick St., as well as a public engagement meeting at 6 the same night at the same location.

Rome was named the winner of the $10 million DRI grant in September.

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