GLENS FALLS, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Big changes are years into progress in downtown Glens Falls. The South Street Revitalization Project is underway, with a new draft of a farmer’s market community hub revealed over the summer; and the Arts District of Glens Falls boasts new sidewalk stamps and two enormous murals, all new this year. Those projects have been made possible thanks to Downtown Revitalization Initiative funding.

On Wednesday, New York Secretary of State Robert Rodriguez paid the city a visit to get a look at exactly what future the DRI program has helped to created. The state awarded the city $10 million in funding for revitalization projects in 2017. Five years later, there’s still a lot of work to do, but the Secretary saw the difference.

“It’s really important that people can see and visualize the progress that this program makes in their community,” said Rodriguez on Wednesday. “People come together and they put together a list of projects that they feel are most meaningful to their community, and the state works to help fund it. What you’re seeing is a community that has weathered COVID and is successfully thriving.”

Glens Falls was part of the state’s first round of DRI funding in 2017. On Friday, the application window for its sixth round will close.

Rodriguez got a tour of South Street, an area of Glens Falls designated as in need of revitalization. Many closed businesses and empty buildings dot the once-lively street remembered by locals as “the street of dreams.” In 2019, a former betting building was demolished along the street to make room for a new farmer’s market pavilion and community center, intended as a hub for outdoor concerts and other events.

In June, the Glens Falls community got an update on the plans for South Street. In addition to the new space, the current home of the Glens Falls Farmer’s Market will become part of the home of a large-scale new apartment complex and community arts hub.

Many other New York communities have received aid since Glens Falls got its turn. Rodriguez says that Glens Falls stands as a great example of what a community can do with the kind of help that DRI funding can give.

“There are transformations happening in places like Glens Falls, but also places like Buffalo and Oswego and Batavia and Auburn, and we’re looking forward to the next round of winners. Really it’s about helping Glens Falls cross the finish line on these projects, but also remind people that there’s so much that can happen here,” Rodriguez said.

The state is also rolling out a smaller program, New York Forward, which aims to put a similar focus on towns, villages and even hamlets. Those communities may not see $10 million like Glens Falls, but would have the chance to get $2-3 million to help with turning over a new page – in whatever way they need.