WATERLOO — For the second time in three years, state officials have decided not to award the village a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant.
The news was delivered at Monday night’s Village Board meeting.
The village’s application sought state funds for efforts to improve downtown and to better connect that area and the nearby Cayuga-Seneca Canal, including the conversion of the former Moore’s Furniture building on Washington Street into an art center.
Despite the disappointing news, the Waterloo Economic Development Committee said it remains focused on executing the development strategies outlined in the DRI proposal. Village officials, in a statement released Tuesday, said the village cited significant interest from private sector investors, “unparalleled” improvements to local infrastructure, and the capacity of local leaders.
Officials believed the village was in a position of strength to be a finalist, having used millions of dollars in state investment to achieve dramatic results in recent years and attract multiple developers from around the state to invest in downtown buildings and businesses.
“The members that were dedicated to the DRI process left all that they had on the field when it comes to the DRI competition,” WEDC Chairman Joe Sposato said. “Our team had the best interests of Waterloo in their minds and the utmost heart up until the very last minute, and we are thankful for their efforts.”
Village Administrator Don Northrup said local officials knew the competition was tough.
“But we know all that Waterloo has to offer and the potential that it has,” Northrup said. “We were surprised to get that call. We have organized our priorities, people and plans in order to grasp the ongoing possibilities ahead of us and leverage other opportunities.
“Our work continues,” Northrup added.
While Waterloo did not make the list of 2021 finalists from the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council area, the village of Newark has been announced as a finalist. There is $20 million in DRI up for grabs to either one or two Finger Lakes Region recipients.
The city of Geneva, the town of Seneca Falls and the village of Penn Yan are past DRI winners.