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GOVERNOR CUOMO ANNOUNCES TRANSFORMATIONAL PROJECTS FOR PEEKSKILL AND BALDWIN AS PART OF $10 MILLION DRI AWARD

Downtown Revitalization Projects Will Invest in Mixed-Use Developments, Improve Pedestrian Connections & Support Small Businesses

$10 Million DRI Investment Continues Governor’s Strategic Goal to Enrich the Community with Key Catalytic Projects

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the list of transformational projects for Peekskill and Baldwin as part of their $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative awards. The 12 projects in Peekskill and 7 projects in Baldwin will incorporate mixed-used transit-oriented development, improve pedestrian connections, and support small businesses to create places where residents, commuters and visitors want to shop, dine, and recreate. The investments are part of the Governor’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the downstate economy and create more opportunities for the Mid-Hudson region and Long Island.

“We are focused on building New York State back better than ever before and these strategic investments in Peekskill and Baldwin will play an important role in our economic resurgence,” Governor Cuomo said. “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative continues to work with and empower local communities to reimagine their cities to create a brighter future for present and future generations. By investing in the infrastructure, we can help attract even more new businesses, residents and visitors to these areas.”

“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is strengthening communities in the Hudson Valley, on Long Island and across the state, making them great destinations to work, play and raise a family,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “A healthy downtown is vital to a community’s overall economic health, especially as we enter a post-pandemic future. The projects announced in Peekskill and Baldwin today will change the trajectories of these communities and help them build back better, stronger and more resilient for the future.”

Peekskill – Mid-Hudson Region

Peekskill was named a DRI Round 4 winner in August 2019. Peekskill seeks to build upon its recent successes creating a downtown center with attractive features creating an active downtown, a strong and unique sense of place with market diversification in tourism and leisure activities, the arts, light industry and media. Through the DRI, the city intends to crystallize its identity as a regional arts destination, a vibrant hub for businesses and jobs, and a center for tourism. The DRI also aims to improve connectivity between the scenic waterfront, transit centers, and the downtown mixed-use community. Key DRI projects include infrastructure, lighting, and pedestrian safety improvements between downtown and the waterfront integrated with efforts to support artists, creative businesses, and bolster Peekskill’s identity as an arts center.  Investing in strategic DRI projects will promote additional redevelopment and establish Peekskill as the ultimate small city in which to live, work, and raise a family.  

The specific projects to be funded through the Peekskill DRI include:

Redevelop 41 N Division Street as a Mixed-Use Building Housing the Peekskill Arts Center, Multi-media Production Spaces, and Apartments – $1,638,752: Redevelopment of 41 N Division Street as the primary home of the Peekskill Arts Center on the ground floor, multi-media production spaces in the basement level, and new micro-apartments on the two upper floors.

Transform the Kiley Youth Center as a New Location of the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester – $1,500,000: Renovate the Kiley Youth Center as a new location for the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester. Upgrades include interior/exterior improvements, utilities, and structural repairs providing offices, an art room, computer labs, and cafeteria.

Revitalize the Paramount Theater – $1,000,000: Renovations to the building facade and marquee, improved interior spaces for audience and artists, expanded hospitality programs, and upgraded equipment and utilities. Interior upgrades include lighting and sound equipment, stage rigging, accessible seating, flexible seating, and box office renovations.

Downtown Revitalization Fund – $700,000: Creation of a fund to help small businesses in the DRI area make capital improvements. Eligible activities include facade improvements, small business creation and expansion, solar installations, and adaptation to social distancing guidelines.

Transform Downtown Peekskill with Public Art – $500,000: Series of public art installations throughout Downtown Peekskill through a locally administered selection process involving long-time arts organizations in the city. The joint venture includes three proposals, Enlighten Peekskill, Making Connections, and the Five Arches Mural.

Implement Public Wi-Fi in Lepore and Pugsley Parks and Low-Cost Internet Service for Bohlmann Towers and Barham Senior Houses – $380,000: Create a mesh Wi-Fi network to offer low-cost internet to residents of Bohlmann Towers and Barham House Apartments, free access to a local resource gateway, and free Wi-Fi access along the Main St. Corridor including Lepore and Pugsley parks.

Create a Downtown Civic Hub and Improve the Downtown Public Realm – $1,626,000: Create the Peekskill Plaza on S. Division St by converting two lanes to a pedestrian civic space, redesign Gazebo Plaza as the civic heart of Peekskill, improve streetscapes to enhance pedestrian safety and beautify downtown Peekskill.

Improve Connections for Pedestrians and Cyclists between the Waterfront and Downtown – $1,102,000: Strengthen the connection between the Waterfront and the Downtown Core by improving connectivity and safety for pedestrians and bicyclists on Railroad Avenue, S. Water Street, Central Avenue, and South Street. Components include bike lanes, curb extensions, crosswalks, bioswales, bike racks, LED info signage, street trees, and pedestrian signals.

Create a Marketing and Branding Strategy with Wayfinding Signage – $500,000: Develop a brand for Peekskill that describes the City’s history and culture, create a marketing strategy to communicate the City’s brand and attract new residents, businesses, and visitors, and implement components of the marketing strategy with wayfinding signage.

Enhance Pugsley Park as a Downtown Attraction – $313,248: Improvements to Pugsley Park including creation of new plazas and seating areas, pedestrian-scaled lighting; small-scale play equipment to attract children, trash cans, bike parking, plantings of trees, shrubs, and flowers, and infrastructure to support power hook-ups and watering.

Enhance Monument Park, a Gateway into Downtown Peekskill – $260,000: Monument Park would be enhanced by lighting and maintenance improvements to improve the quality of the public space for daily use by residents. The project proposal seeks DRI funding for lighting, landscaping, and LED informational sign at the bus stop.

Reconstruct Fleischmann Pier and Improve Charles Point Park as a Premier Waterfront Destination – $180,000: Reconstruction of Fleischmann Pier to create a new pier that will support tour boats. The project would provide funding for a second phase improvement to include floating docks for smaller vessels and transient boaters, improvements to Charles Point Park, and expanded parking area building.

Baldwin – Long Island

Baldwin was named a DRI Round 4 winner in August 2019. Downtown Baldwin, centered on Grand Avenue, is the commercial backbone of the predominantly residential hamlet of Baldwin, located within the Town of Hempstead along the south shore of Nassau County. The Baldwin community has long recognized its assets, including transit access and transit-oriented development opportunities, historic features, and a diverse and engaged community. Through the DRI, the community envisions Baldwin as a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly, and mixed-use downtown, with an active, compact, multi-modal Long Island Rail Road Station (LIRR) station area at its center. This vision also incorporates a productive mix of land uses and innovative green infrastructure components to create a place where residents, commuters and visitors want to shop, dine, and recreate.

The specific projects to be funded through the DRI include:

Build a Mixed-Use Development at Milburn Plaza – $2,000,000: Redevelop 24 Sunrise Highway replacing a contaminated, used car parking lot, with a mixed-use building consisting of ground floor retail uses with 200 residential units above. Project amenities would include on-site parking facilities and a pedestrian plaza.

Redevelop 775 Brooklyn Avenue for Mixed-Use Transit-Oriented Development -$3,500,000: Construct a mixed-use, seven-story building accommodating 107 new residential units, 24,000 SF of commercial/office space, and 81 on-site parking stalls immediately adjacent to the Baldwin LIRR station.

Build a Mixed-Use Development at 2130 and 2134-2138 Grand Avenue – $1,000,000: Redevelop the largely vacant property at 2130 and 2134-2138 Grand Avenue as a five-story mixed-use development, accommodating 7,800 SF of commercial uses on the first floor and 60 residential units on the upper floors.

Develop Affordable Workforce Housing at Baldwin Commons  $850,000: Redevelop vacant property located at 785 Merrick Road as a 33-unit, four-story all-affordable workforce housing development known as Baldwin Commons, with ground floor amenity space such as a leasing office, mail room, lobby, and community room.

Provide Financial Assistance to Property Owners through a Downtown Improvement Grant Program – $600,000: Provision of a grant fund to increase opportunities for local business and property owners to invest in the renovation of building exteriors, to upgrade business entrances from rear parking areas, street frontage improvements, energy system upgrades, and interior fit-outs within the Baldwin DRI Area.

Improve Traffic and Pedestrian Safety Along Merrick Road – $1,500,000: Implement roadway and pedestrian safety enhancements along Merrick Road between Harrison Avenue and Pershing Boulevard to facilitate safer circulation between pedestrians and vehicular traffic along the well-traveled corridor.

Establish a Unique Baldwin Identity with a Branding and Marketing Program – $250,000: Implement a Downtown Baldwin Branding and Marketing Program including digital and print strategies, destination mapping, and public events to promote the unique historic, cultural, and economic assets of the Baldwin community.

Both communities developed a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize their downtowns with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. Local Planning Committees made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plans examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.

The DRI projects are the latest example of Governor Cuomo’s ongoing commitment to the Mid-Hudson region and Long Island.

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative investments have the power to reinvigorate local communities, particularly after challenges brought on by COVID-19. These strategic projects, selected through a collaborative planning process, will add new mixed-use developments, bolster local businesses, and create more pedestrian-friendly downtowns for residents and visitors to enjoy for years to come. I look forward to seeing these exciting projects come to life.”

NYS Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The Governor’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is leveraging local opportunities to boost economic growth in cities, towns and villages across the state. These 19 award-worthy projects in Baldwin and Peekskill will create more attractive and livable communities. By investing in our downtowns, we are guaranteeing a brighter future for all New Yorkers.”

Senator Pete Harckham said, “I want to thank Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Hochul for spearheading these tremendous investments in Peekskill as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The rejuvenation of this proud, diverse community is well underway because of their support, and funding for a new round projects will continue to boost local businesses and tourism.”

Senator Todd Kaminsky said, “This substantial state investment will be a game-changer for Baldwin and its downtown. I was proud to help secure this vital grant, which will provide funding to breathe new life into the community. I will continue to work with my partners in government and local leaders to ensure this project delivers for Baldwin residents.”

Senator John Brooks said, The Downtown Revitalization Projects, announced today for Baldwin, are crucial in building back a community that has fallen on tough times in recent years. This project is not only an investment in the infrastructure and economy of Baldwin, but an investment in its people to build a better future for themselves and their neighbors. I have full confidence that these plans will go a long way in creating a better and more prosperous Baldwin that its people will be proud of.

Assembly Member Sandy Galef said, I am thrilled that Peekskill will benefit is so many ways from the $10 million state Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award. Every aspect of life in the community will be enhanced through these many diverse projects. Building back our downtowns in Peekskill and throughout New York State is essential and will lead to stronger and more prosperous communities.”

Assembly Member Taylor Darling said, The announcement today by the Governor is a proud moment for the residents of Baldwin. The revitalization of the Downtown of Baldwin will create a great atmosphere for the community to come together and enjoy what Baldwin has to offer! I look forward to the future completion of these projects.”

Assembly Member Judy Griffin said, “Congratulations to the hamlet of Baldwin for entering the next phase of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. This project will be transformational and will create a more vibrant, welcoming, inclusive, small-business-friendly and safe downtown. Baldwin has been eagerly awaiting for this next step to commence and I am thrilled with this exciting announcement and look forward to seeing the project’s vision come to fruition! Thanks to Governor Cuomo and the Downtown Revitalization Initiative for awarding Baldwin with this monumental funding in 2019. I was proud to support Baldwin for this well-deserved selection and know that this wonderful hamlet and greater community will benefit enormously from this revitalization project. I am grateful that this major project will help the local and Long Island economy thrive.”

Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and SUNY New Paltz President Dr. Donald Christian said, “When Governor Cuomo announced the City of Peekskill as the DRI Round 4 winner in August 2019, none of us knew that only seven months later New York State would be grappling with a pandemic, the likes of which the world hasn’t seen in more than a century. As we look towards a brighter future with COVID-19 appearing in the rearview mirror and the road to economic recovery ahead of us, these Peekskill DRI projects will be a beacon for others that we are building back better and will lift all communities up one by one.”

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, I want to thank Governor Andrew Cuomo for making the City of Peekskill a priority as part of his $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award. The funding, which will include the creation of mixed-use housing, improvements to the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester, revitalization of the Paramount Theater, signage improvements to the waterfront and downtown area, and a series of public art installations, will ultimately help to build a stronger local economy and a more vibrant Peekskill community. Investing in these DRI projects will promote additional redevelopment, and establish Peekskill as a desirable small city in which to live, work and raise a family.”

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said, “I am thrilled to see this important revitalization project in my hometown of Baldwin move forward, as it will boost our local economy and allow the Baldwin downtown to finally live up to its potential. Nassau County will continue working with our towns and villages to utilize their streets and open spaces to attract diners and shoppers, and encourage the developing of housing in our downtowns. As we drive forward on the road to recovery, reviving our downtowns will be a key focus for Nassau.”

Peekskill Mayor Andre Rainey said, “New York State is making a big bet on the great City of Peekskill, because they know we have the people, the vision, and the community engagement necessary, to keep the City moving ever upward. Make no mistake: the State isn’t providing ten million dollars in funding by accident. They see strong, visionary leadership that is balancing growth and affordability, while remaining true to the creativity and diversity that brought us to this point. I couldn’t be more proud of the people of this City and all we have accomplished together”

Town of Hempstead Supervisor Donald Clavin said, “This is an important day for Baldwin and for the Town of Hempstead, as it signifies a major step toward the reimagining of the community’s downtown.  Today’s announcement is representative of the teamwork and dedication of the Local Planning Committee, on which I proudly served as co-chair with Dave Kapell of the Regional Economic Development Council. This teamwork also extended to our partners at New York State, with the Governor’s office playing a key role in allowing us to reach this critical juncture for the Baldwin Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Thank you to the community and business leaders who have been so engaged throughout this entire process, as well as my colleagues on the Town Board for their ongoing advocacy on behalf of residents.  Special thanks to Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul for her support and for being here today to deliver this important news for the future of Baldwin. We will continue to work toward the completion of a successful, sustainable and beautiful revitalization of Baldwin’s downtown.”

Long Island Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Kevin Law, President of the Long Island Association, said, “The Governor’s DRI program is helping to revitalize downtowns through Nassau and Suffolk counties. As we continue to reopen and recover our local economy from COVID, these funds for Baldwin are timely and most appreciated.”

Long Island Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair Stuart Rabinowitz, President of Hofstra University, said, “Through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, New York State is investing in downtowns across Long Island and helping these communities realize their visions. The projects announced for Baldwin will leverage private dollars to build new mixed-use transit-oriented developments to bolster Baldwin’s recovery from COVID-19.”