ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – It was announced Friday 13 projects in Schenectady will begin to create connections between the city’s downtown and waterfront developments, transform existing buildings to create mixed-used spaces, and enhance the local arts scene. Funded through Schenectady’s $10 million award through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, these investments reflect the State’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities throughout the Capital Region.
Schenectady was named Round 4 winner in November 2019. Schenectady will “leverage recent momentum and investment” in the Mill District, Mohawk Harbor, and Downtown to create a more “cohesive, vibrant destination” for visitors, residents, and businesses. This includes pedestrian, vehicular, and biking connections with new signage. The projects also prioritize new mixed-use development projects to attract new businesses, jobs, and activity along Erie Boulevard.
Projects funded through the initiative will:
- Transform underutilized blocks near State and Clinton Streets – $2,750,000: Redevelopment of three underutilized city blocks into a mixed-use development featuring 90-plus apartments, 5,000-square-feet of retail space, 50,000 square feet of medical office space, and parking through adaptive reuse of existing buildings and new construction.
- Renovate historic structures for adaptive reuse, Alchemy Urban Playground – $300,000: Renovate two buildings on Erie Boulevard to create four art studios for local artists, a retail gallery, an event space, and two maker/training spaces. Focus on skills training for minorities and youth.
- Improve façades and structures along key corridors – $600,000: Façade improvement fund will enhance existing buildings in three corridors including Lower State Street, Lafayette Street, and Little Italy.
- Complete building improvements for SEAT Workforce Training Center – $428,000: Complete façade and site improvements to finish an extensive building renovation that will house the SEAT Workforce Training Center for Young Adults.
- Renovate former Cohn Building to create new retail and office space – $425,000: Renovate a vacant building into a mixed-use space with ground floor retail and second floor of office and create 28 new parking spaces nearby.
- Extend North Jay Street and improve Maxon Road – $2,000,000: Extend North Jay Street from its dead-end northeast to the intersection of Nott Street and Maxon Road, creating a new connection between downtown and Mohawk Harbor.
- Install new lighting along Clinton Street and North Broadway – $875,000: Replace existing street lighting with energy-efficient LED lighting capable of also supporting ‘smart city’ technology. Clinton Street between State Street and Franklin Street and North Broadway between State Street and Union Street.
- Extend the Alco Heritage Trail and Construct the Empire State Trail Gateway – $760,000: Extend the Alco Heritage Trail from its existing terminus at River Street to Front Street Park. Install an informational kiosk and small plaza area at Mohawk Harbor as a gateway to the New York State Empire Trail that provides wayfinding and tourism information.
- Improve City Hall Square and Jay Street traffic circulation – $425,000: Public square improvements around city hall and conversion of Jay Street to two-way traffic between city hall and Union Street.
- Reopen and upgrade the Alco Tunnel Trail – $350,000: Improve an existing tunnel with lighting and connecting paths to allow for pedestrian and cyclist connections between Erie Boulevard and Jay Street/Mohawk Hudson Bikeway.
- Install public art throughout Downtown – $287,000: Multi-faceted public art initiative to create and install murals, interactive art pieces, sculptural seating, and a historic statue.
- Upgrade the Jay Street pedestrian walkway – $250,000: Public space, lighting, and drainage improvements to support local businesses along this popular walkway.
- Improve signage and wayfinding – $250,000: Install new signage to guide residents and visitors through the study area, highlighting historical and cultural destinations.
Schenectady developed a strategic investment plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million grant. A local planning committee 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 investment plan for Schenectady examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for revitalization.