DRI award

From left, MACNY President and CEO Randy Wolken, SUNY Oswego President Deborah Stanley, State Senator Patty Ritchie, Fulton CDA Director Joe Fiumara, Gov. Andrew Cuomo, and Fulton Common Council President Don Patrick pose with the ceremonial $10 million check at the August announcement of Fulton as a winner of a 2019 Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. A mixed-use housing project is being considered with some of the DRI funding, and the Fulton Common Council has given its approval for project renderings to be done.

 

By JUSTIN HENRY

justin@fultonvalleynews.com

FULTON — City of Fulton officials are outlining a mixed-use housing complex to overlook the Oswego River as part of the state’s $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) from the state.

The structure would overlook the Oswego River and contain commercial and residential space, with two units reserved for state-subsidized housing for veterans, according to Fulton Community Development Agency (CDA) Director Joe Fiumara.

“Nothing is etched in stone,” Fiumara said, addressing Fulton Common Council members and Mayor Ron Woodward Sr. earlier in November, appealing to the city officials for them to vote on a resolution in support of the structure. “All (the resolution) is doing is allowing us to work with the consultants about doing some renderings of a market rate housing building on the river.”

According to Fiumara, the mixed-use apartment and restaurant complex would encompass part of the parking lot across the street just past the Towpath Towers lot.

The six-person common council unanimously gave its support to the project, which Fiumara said is one of the most publicly supported during town hall DRI meetings.

“All this (resolution) would allow us to do would be to get renderings of that, how much space it would take up, what it would look like, stuff like that,” Fiumara told council members and Mayor Woodward.  “We’re going to see if we can have parking down there, too.”

However, he added that the Downtown Revitalization Projects would require the downtown area to undergo a parking remodeling to handle increased traffic.

“They’re so short on parking spaces downtown. There’s a two-hour limit, we know that’s not enforced,” he said, adding that state officials consider parking overloads to be a sign of economic health for a city undergoing downtown revitalization.

“We’ve had a lot of public input in the DRI public sessions that they wanted to see more market rate housing in our downtown,” Fiumara said. “We’re also thinking of allocating at least two units of the market rate housing to veterans since it’s close to Veterans’ Park (on South First Street). We don’t have anything in the city that’s specifically designated for veterans.”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in August that the city of Fulton would receive a total of $10 million in economic development initiative funds. Cuomo lauded the city because it “put together a brilliant plan” that would drive economic development in the city’s downtown area, especially as it pertains to the waterfront district.

“Fulton put together a brilliant plan — and you’re right, you have the (state Route) 481 corridor on one side, the river on the other,” Cuomo said. “With this award they will be able to unleash the full potential of this unique location on the Oswego River, revamping the waterfront and downtown corridor to make this city more prosperous for residents and visitors.”

Fiumara said from the economic development wing of the city, he is excited to see the city open itself up to developers and entrepreneurs with projects like the mixed-use housing project and restaurant on Oswego River.

“We just had so much support from business owners and residents and visitors coming through Fulton,” Fiumara said after the $10 million grant was announced in August. “We are just so happy that it all came together.”

Fiumara added that there are a total of 26 projects — one of which was condominiums or market rate rental units on the water. Over the next few months, Fiumara said he plans to work with other members of the city’s DRI committee and state officials to finalize the individual parameters of each project as well as funding allocations.

“We’d still have to bring it back for a public hearing in the spring, but this is just to do renderings,” he said. 

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