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Oneida residents to have input on projects

Carly Stone
Staff writer
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Posted 5/11/22

ONEIDA — The process of finding, developing, and selecting projects to be considered for Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) funding is a long and arduous one, according to local officials. …

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Oneida residents to have input on projects

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ONEIDA — The process of finding, developing, and selecting projects to be considered for Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) funding is a long and arduous one, according to local officials.

The Local Planning Committee (LPC), tasked with creating a a strategic investment plan for the city to use the $10 million awarded by the state to reinvigorate its downtown, has been presented with several projects for its members’ consideration.

These projects were discussed and debated during a recent committee meeting, with members looking to see how best the leverage the state funding to make the maximum impact on the city’s downtown.

The committee is hoping for robust public input as the public comment period is set to begin with a presentation at the Kallet Theater, 159 Main St., at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 18.

Here’s a brief look at a few of the project submissions, as of the LPC’s meeting last week, that are expected to be awaiting the public’s input:

Hotel Oneida

Hotel Oneida located at 181 Main Street has been a talking point of the city for nearly a century. At one time, it was a hub for activity. More recently, it has been described as a community eyesore.

That has the potential to change if this project is lifted off the ground. The project proposes turning the upper three floors of the building into residential apartments and creating space for a restaurant and catering operation in its ground and lower levels.

Apartments would consist of market-rate, efficiency, and one-bedroom units.

In addition, four “transient” units available for short-term stays would be established.

As it stands, the project would total $8.5 million and is requesting $3.2 million of DRI funds.

“There’s plenty of potential there,” Oneida Mayor Helen Acker said of the building owned by Sullivan Contracting.

She said city officials and engineers have been through to ensure the structure’s viability to undergo the renovations.

“I think everybody is in agreement that it’s been a long time. It’s about time something is done over there,” she remarked.

Dispatch Commons

This building downtown that previously housed the Oneida Daily Dispatch press office (hence the name) has the potential to become a decarbonized commercial center.

This estimated $2 million project is requesting $1 million in DRI funds to reimagine the 16,390 square ft space at 130 Broad Street by providing unique office spaces adjacent to an open concept farm-to-table brewhouse with production view of both its brewery and kitchen.

Additional space on the north side of the building adjacent to Farrier Ave and Higinbotham Park would become an exterior patio and social space in the heart of Oneida.

The building would be converted to be fully electric (no gas or fuel) and would meet “net zero” decarbonization standards, according to the project description.

The Kallet Theater

More could be happening at the Kallet than just repair.

In an estimated $625,000 project asking to be 100% funded through DRI, the Kallet, located at 159 Main St., would receive repair and digitization of its marquee, installation of digital projection, sound, and screening technologies that would increase the capacity for multiple presentation categories, and a new screen with fireproof curtains.

In addition, Oneida would be applying to label the Kallet Theater as a NYS Qualified Production Facility (QPF) — this would be the only one of its kind in Madison County. “It would mean that people who are potentially going to be filming different kinds of things could use [the Kallet] and would be able to get a tax credit or rebate from the State of New York,” explained Barbara Henderson, City of Oneida community development assistant. “[The Kallet] would also go onto a database of all of the [QPFs] in NYS that people who are thinking of doing productions would be able to see. So it’s also a marketing program.”

Henderson said this project would not preclude the Kallet from being used for other purposes. Acker assured that changing the building’s historic interior elements is not a part of the plan, either.

This project may tie into another proposed project in which the city would market itself, in part, as an attractive area for prospective filmmakers by compiling and listing its unique local filming sites in the NYS Online Location Library.

For more information and updates on upcoming meetings and events, visit: OneidaDRI.com

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