Mayor Patrick Madden’s administration will ask the Troy Capital Resource Corporation, a public authority it controls, to contribute $10,000 to its effort this year to compete in the anticipated third round of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which involves cities within nearly a dozen designated regions across the state vying for $10 million grants.
The CRC’s contribution, paired with an additional $10,000 from one or more “possible match sources—none that I’m able to disclose at this moment,” would go toward hiring a consulting firm to help the city craft its proposal, economic development coordinator Cheryl Kennedy told The Alt.
The state competition requires city-applicants to select a “compact” downtown area “with well-defined boundaries” and identify “transformative projects that will be ready for implementation” within two years, according to a recent Cuomo press release.
Each of Cuomo’s 10 regional economic development councils picks a DRI winner. The Capital Region’s council chose Glens Falls in 2016 and Hudson last year. Once selected, winners embark on an extensive, state-chaperoned planning process.
Troy unsuccessfully applied in the two previous rounds. In 2016, it pitched the “Marina District,” a concept stretching from the Green Island Bridge to the federal dam. Last year, it pitched the “Riverwalk Accelerator District,” which would have extended south from Riverfront Park to the salt pile near the Poesten Kill.
The Cuomo press release says that “an open and robust community engagement process” should inform cities’ proposals. While in past years the city met with and secured letters of support from stakeholders, it did not hold public meetings—something it will do this year, Kennedy told The Alt.
Through this “comprehensive” process, the city will seek to identify shovel-ready and “key catalytic” projects to highlight in its proposal, Kennedy said. The process will help to define the most viable catchment area. Prospective project developers will also be urged to submit their own consolidated funding applications for state subsidies.
Incidentally, The Alt has learned the city’s grant writer, Laura Welles, resigned last month. The mayor’s spokesman, John Salka, didn’t return a request for more information on her departure. An attempt to contact Welles via Facebook was unsuccessful. Kennedy said the city is looking for a replacement.
Last year, Welles successfully appealed to the city’s industrial development authority to bankroll, at least initially, a three-year agreement with eCivis, a grant management software company. She said at the time that the city could end the deal prematurely, if it so desired. Salka did not respond to a question about whether the software is currently being used. Steve Strichman, the city’s planning commissioner and IDA executive director, also did not immediately return a request for comment.
The city of Albany also unsuccessfully applied in both previous rounds of the DRI. A spokesperson for the Albany mayor’s office did not return an email asking if it had retained an outside consultant to assist with its proposals in past years.
A spokesman for the mayor of Schenectady, which applied for a DRI grant in 2016 but not last year, did not return an email asking if the city intends to apply this year.
Read Troy’s 2017 DRI application below.