Massena encourages DRI input ahead of deadline

With the 4 p.m. Sept. 15 submission deadline approaching, village of Massena officials are looking for community input that can be included as part of its Downtown Revitalization Initiative application. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — With the 4 p.m. Sept. 15 submission deadline approaching, village of Massena officials are looking for community input that can be included as part of its Downtown Revitalization Initiative application.

An online survey was posted this week seeking input on favorite things about Massena, what people think makes it amazing, what are some treasured memories of the community, and what are the community’s positives.

The survey can be found at http://wdt.me/JsSoDq. It asks what the top priority should be for revitalizing downtown, what local options should be available to someone instead of spending money elsewhere, and what other activities should Massena offer. There’s also room for other comments.

“We encourage people to take part in it,” Village Administrator Monique Chatland said.

She said they’ve also reached out to various stakeholders for letters of support, and others are welcome to join in. The more community support they have, the better their application will be, she said.

“They can send letters or send emails. They can forward anything to me as well (at villageclerk@village.massena.ny.us),” she said.

An email also went out this week to seek input from Massena Central School District students and parents, like they’ve done in the past.

“We’ve had students write letters and poems or draw pictures,” Ms. Chatland said.

Deputy Mayor Matthew J. LeBire noted at a recent village board meeting that they had received positive feedback from previous applications and had examined how they could make their submission even better this time. For instance, he said, anyone now walking through the downtown area would see improvement that’s taken place over the past couple of years.

“So we believe we’re very well-positioned. We’re going to capture that momentum in the application. It should be a strong application, so we are once again going for it. This is an opportunity for us to not only think big, but to think about what’s going on. One thing we’re not good at is celebrating success,” although there are success stories in the community, Mr. LeBire said.

Former Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo had announced that $200 million would be available for the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Funds will be provided to communities across the 10 Regional Economic Development Council regions.

As part of the fifth round, each Regional Economic Development Council region may receive up to two awards for a total of $20 million awarded per region. The Regional Economic Development Council will decide whether to nominate two $10 million awardees or one $20 million awardee for transformative and catalytic downtown redevelopment projects upon review of the submitted applications.

Each selected community will develop a strategic plan that articulates a vision for the revitalization of its downtown and identifies a list of signature projects that have the potential to transform the downtown. DRI funds will then be awarded for selected projects that have the greatest potential to jump-start revitalization and realize the community’s vision for the downtown.

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