SENECA FALLS — Downtown Seneca Falls as we know it today may soon be a memory with the town’s impending submission of its state Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant project list.
The town was awarded a $10 million DRI grant in 2019. To receive the money, a Local Planning Committee was formed to solicit ways to spend it to improve the downtown area.
Last week, the committee came up with a tentative list of projects totaling $15.8 million in DRI funds to help pay for $36.6 million worth of upgrades and enhancements. The DRI money would pay for 43 percent of that work, up to $10 million. The rest would come from private investment and other sources.
The public can still weigh in on the project list by going to www.senecafallsdri.com for the next week.
The 13-member Local Planning Committee will review a draft strategic plan by Aug. 7 and have a final plan ready to submit to the state by Aug. 14.
Here’s the current list of projects:
HALL OF FAME: Enhancement of the National Women’s Hall of Fame in its new location at 1 Canal St. to make it a destination site. The Hall is seeking $1 million of DRI funds toward $2.25 million in renovations, including smokestack restoration, elevators, stairs and permanent exhibits. That represents 44 percent of the total project cost.
IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: The It’s A Wonderful Life Museum at 32 Fall St. is eyed for facade and interior renovations and permanent exhibits. Museum officials are seeking $912,000, which is 100 percent of the total cost.
PERFORMING ARTS CENTER: The development of the former Wesleyan Church at 140 Fall St. into the Seneca Falls Performing Arts Center is on the list for facade and interior renovations totaling $1.2 million. The total cost is estimated at $1.25 million. DRI funds would cover 96 percent of the cost.
COMMUNITY RECREATION: The plan calls for using $324,000 in DRI funds to pay for an upgrade to the skate park and the kayak launch at the Community Center, 35 Water St. That is the total cost of the project.
VILLAGE HALL/TRAIN STATION: The committee is proposing to help convert the former village hall and train station at 60 State St. into Sorella Italian Restaurant and Banquet Hall, including outside dining. The DRI share is $605,000 or 45 percent of a total cost of $1.34 million.
NORTH CANALSIDE: Updating People’s Park on Water Street, adding canal lookouts, burying utilities, enlarging the public space, adding a playground and creating a dual purpose parking lot and plaza is proposed. The total cost is $3.69 million, all of which would come from DRI funds.
HUNTINGTON BUILDING: The historic building at 201 Fall St. is scheduled to be converted to 50 units of workforce and veterans affordable housing by a private developer. The developer is asking for DRI funds of $800,000 or 5 percent of the total project cost of $16.3 million.
FALL STREET DOWNTOWN: The plan calls for enhanced crosswalks, planting beds, extended decorative lighting and branded bicycle racks in downtown, plus Academy Park upgrades. The total cost is $2.18 million, all of which would come from DRI funds.
HERITAGE AND INFORMATION CENTER: At 89 Fall St., the current Visitor’s Center would be upgraded with renovations to the interior and exterior and permanent exhibit space. There would be new signage, a balcony, updated exhibits, a new elevator and a bike sharing station. The DRI would pay for the entire $752,025 cost of the project.
GOULD HOTEL: The hotel at 108 Fall St. would be “reinvigorated” with upgraded entrances, lobby, lounge, bar and restaurant. The owners are seeking $405,000 or 45 percent from DRI toward the $900,000 total cost.
SOUTH SHORE CANALSIDE: This area, including the Women’s Hall of Fame, is targeted for extension of a walking trail, streetscape upgrades, a formal entrance to the Hall of Fame, an archway and landscaping. The DRI funds requested is $1.28 million, which is 100 percent of the cost.
INTERACTIVE PATHWAY AND WALK OF HONOR: The downtown core is eyed for a interactive pathway with 24 Walk of Honor plaques and 8 to 10 interactive kiosks. The entire $479,340 cost would come from DRI funds.
CULINARY ARTS: The plan seeks $400,000 from DRI to help pay for a $1.7 million project to convert 72-74 Fall St. into a culinary arts studio and apartments. The project would involve a kitchen, classrooms and five upper floor apartments. DRI would supply 24 percent of the cost.
BRIDGE: Improvements to the It’s A Wonderful Life or Bridge Street bridge over the canal is proposed. The upgrades would include programmable LED lighting, painting and new sidewalks. DRI funds of $430,000 would pay the entire cost.
ST. PATRICK’S SCHOOL: The former school at 81 W. Bayard St., now the Finger Lakes Health Institute, would have interior renovations, including second floor apartments and mechanical upgrades. The owner is requesting $404,000 of the $982.800 total cost or 41 percent from DRI.
SCULPTURE TRAIL: Enhancements to the Ludovico Sculpture Trail along the south side of the canal would include a new trail head, improved entrance, upgrades to the walking surface, bronze nameplates for the sculptures, lighting, seating and a rain garden. DRI funds of $277,718 are requested for the project, covering the entire cost.
DANIEL BLOCK: Renovations to 102 Fall St. would include five new, third floor apartments, an elevator, revisions to the first floor entrance. A request for $253,200 in DRI funds toward the $638,200 total cost is proposed, a 40 percent share.
BUILDING RENOVATION FUND: Officials are proposing to set up a $1 million building renovation fund to provide grants to assist building owners with interior and exterior improvements. DRI funds of $600,000 or 60 percent are requested from DRI funds.