LITTLE FALLS
DOWNTOWN
REVITALIZATION INITIATIVE

ABOUT

OVERVIEW

In December 2021, Little Falls was selected to receive $10 million in grant funding to implement transformative capital projects in its downtown as part of Round Five of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI). The DRI is a New York State grant program designed to catalyze public and private investment in urban centers with significant opportunities for redevelopment, business growth, job creation, and an improved quality of life for all. 

Little Falls' DRI will focus on reconnecting its Downtown Main Street to its waterfront along the Mohawk River and historic Canal District. As the only city in Herkimer County, Little Falls envisions itself as the most desirable residential community in the region by reconnecting isolated parts of the city to create a single single, cohesive downtown district. The City has experienced approximately $11.6 million in recent and ongoing investments and anticipates another $76.8 million in the future. These investments include new apartment housing, a bourbon distilling site, and a proposed new train station providing passenger service. Building on this momentum, Little Falls aims to us the DRI to diversify housing, improve multi-modal connectivity, and enhance the quality of life for all residents.

LittleFallsDRI_Boundary_04.07.22.jpg

THE LITTLE FALLS

DRI AREA

The City's proposed DRI Area reconnects two historically separate districts — the Main Street District and the Canal District — into a unified, vibrant City Center. 

The Main Street District is the central hub of Little Falls commerce and tourism. The famous Main Street Canopy attracts visitors and cinematographers and was featured in the 2017 film, A Quiet Place, directed by John Krasinski. Main Street hosts numerous festivals, such as the Cheese Festival which attracts 6,000 visitors. Main Street is home to a variety of professional and retail businesses, grocery, banking, loft spaces, and other services. Main Street experiences fast-paced pedestrian activity - walkability, lighting, and parking are vital. 

The Canal District is known as Little Falls' arts and cultural hub. It is anchored by Sterzinar Park and Benton's Landing and is home to a variety of quaint shops, dining, lodging and entertainment opportunities. The Canal District is known for its historic industrial architecture with history in textiles, knitting, paper mills, etc., and for its access to the Mohawk River and Erie Canals, Moss Island, the Empire State Trail and other recreational opportunities.

AN OVERVIEW OF THE DRI PROGRAM

The DRI is a comprehensive grant program, which supports the implementation of capital projects designed to transform downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where New Yorkers want to live, work and raise families. Now in its fifth year, the State-funded program will invest $200 million into 19 downtown neighborhoods across New York State. Participating communities are nominated by the State’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) based on the community’s potential for transformation. Participating communities are awarded at least $10 million (up to $20 million) to develop a Downtown Strategic Investment Plan and implement catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization.

Development of the Downtown Strategic Investment Plan is guided by a Local Planning Committee (LPC), comprised of local stakeholders from a variety of relevant backgrounds, industries, and sectors, and extensive public input. The LPC is charged with identifying and recommending projects that total in excess of the available DRI funds to ensure a continued pipeline of projects are ready for funding within the community in the event that alternate funding sources are identified for projects; additional State funds become available; or, projects are removed from consideration. The inclusion of projects in the Downtown Strategic Investment Plan does not guarantee funding through the DRI Program. Rather, New York State is responsible for selecting the most transformative and catalytic projects from those identified for each downtown to receive DRI funding.

For more information regarding the DRI program, please visit the State’s website. 

DRI

PROCESS

Step 1:  DRI Community Selection (December 2021)

​The State announces communities selected for DRI funding

Step 2: Preparation of the Strategic Investment Plan (January – July  2022) 

​​DRI communities establish a Local Planning Committee to guide the development of a Strategic Investment Plan, which identifies projects recommended for DRI funding; this community-based planning process relies on public participation and is facilitated by State agencies and a consultant team

Step 3: Project Implementation

​​After reviewing the Strategic Investment Plan, the State identifies and announces projects selected for DRI funding.

 

MEDIAN AGE

41.7

POPULATION

4,946

POTENTIAL PROJECTS

20+

ACRES

2,445

GET
INVOLVED

Want to learn more about the Downtown Revitalization Initiative? Have questions about the projects? Stay tuned for upcoming public meetings!

PAST MEETINGS

PUBLIC WORKSHOP #3 (IN PERSON & VIRTUAL): Tuesday, July 12, 2022 (click to view the flyer)

6 PM - 8 PM


MEETING RECORDING: https://youtu.be/B_6GGX1Ixkg
MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

LPC MEETING #6 (IN PERSON & VIRTUAL): Tuesday, June 21, 2022 (click to view flyer)

6 PM - 8 PM

MEETING RECORDING: https://youtu.be/_TiwRbESbdE

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

LPC MEETING #5 (IN PERSON & VIRTUAL): Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Click here to view the flyer

6 PM - 8 PM

MEETING RECORDINGhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ev1exNljEis

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

PUBLIC MEETING #2 (IN PERSON & VIRTUAL): Thursday, May 12, 2022

6 PM - 8 PM

MEETING RECORDINGhttps://youtu.be/ZxdUgAvJH0E

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

LPC MEETING #4 (IN PERSON & VIRTUAL): Wednesday, May 11, 2022

6 PM - 8 PM

MEETING RECORDING: https://youtu.be/vsukocXZLDo

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

LPC MEETING #3 (IN PERSON & VIRTUAL): Wednesday, April 6, 2022

6 PM - 8 PM

MEETING RECORDING: https://youtu.be/yRcGuJZunP8

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

 

PUBLIC MEETING #1 (VIRTUAL): Thursday, March 3, 2022

6 PM - 8 PM

MEETING RECORDINGhttps://youtu.be/1REp16GJ3jY

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

VISIONING EXERCISE RESULTSClick to view

LPC MEETING #2: Wednesday, March 2, 2022 

6 PM - 8 PM 

MEETING RECORDINGhttps://youtu.be/cFMuJniCuPs

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

VISIONING EXERCISE RESULTSClick to view

PUBLIC INFORMATION SESSION FOR PROSPECTIVE APPLICANTS: Tuesday, February 15

6 PM - 8 PM

MEETING RECORDINGhttps://youtu.be/rHQkAotFLiM 

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click here to view

LPC MEETING #1: Wednesday, February 2, 2022 (click to view meeting flyer)

6 PM - 8 PM / AGENDA (Click to view)

MEETING RECORDINGhttps://youtu.be/qTxSBS5KJXg

MEETING PRESENTATION: Click to view

 
 
 

PROJECTS

In its DRI application, the City of Little Falls identified over $25 million of transformative, shovel-ready projects. These preliminary projects offer dramatic, quality of life improvements for the City's current and future residents and visitors, including: infrastructure enhancements, a pedestrian and bike loop connecting downtown to the Empire State Trail by leveraging existing infrastructure, park enhancements, increased lodging capacity, reopening historic event space, public art, free citywide fiber and WiFi, Main Street enhancements, e-mobility, increased child care capacity and adaptive reuse of historic assets.

DOWNTOWN PROFILE

The Downtown Profile provides a snapshot of existing conditions in downtown Little Falls. This document identifies key challenges and opportunities for future development and provides the basis for DRI project identification.

LITTLE FALLS DRI

PROJECTS

Please check back often as this section will be regularly updated. Projects will continue to evolve throughout the planning process.

PROJECT TYPES

ELIGIBLE FOR

DRI FUNDING

New Development and/or Rehabilitation of Existing Downtown Buildings >>> Projects in this category may include development or redevelopment of real property for mixed-use, commercial, or public uses. They should have a visible and functional impact on the downtown, serving as anchor, catalytic or transformative projects that will provide employment opportunities, housing choices, and/or services for the community. Projects should employ decarbonization strategies consistent with the State’s goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Construction or rehab of stand-alone parking garages not connected with other uses will not be considered for funding.

Public Improvement Projects >>> These may include infrastructure projects such as broadband and other communications connectivity, green infrastructure, streetscape improvements, transportation, recreational trails, signage, new and upgraded parks and plazas, public art, and other public realm projects that will contribute to revitalization of the downtown.

New Development and/or Rehabilitation of Existing Downtown Buildings >>> Projects in this category may include development or redevelopment of real property for mixed-use, commercial, or public uses. They should have a visible and functional impact on the downtown, serving as anchor, catalytic or transformative projects that will provide employment opportunities, housing choices, and/or services for the community. Projects should employ decarbonization strategies consistent with the State’s goals under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. Construction or rehab of stand-alone parking garages not connected with other uses will not be considered for funding.

Branding and Marketing >>> Examples include downtown branding and marketing projects that may target residents, investors, developers, tourists, and/or visitors. The costs eligible under this category must be one-time expenses, such as those to develop materials and signage. Ongoing operational costs, such as to fund a downtown manager or maintain a website, are not eligible for DRI funding.

Grant Fund / Revolving Loan Fund >>> A locally managed fund may be proposed to undertake a range of smaller downtown projects such as façade improvements, public art and public realm improvements, and physical improvements to existing and/or vacant commercial or mixed-use space. Projects that are significant, such as new construction, should not be proposed for a fund and instead should be proposed as their own individual project. Funds are typically capped at $600,000.

PROJECT SPONSORS

DRI funding may be awarded to public, not-for-profit, and private entities to implement projects included in the final DRI plan. Each project profile will identify a project sponsor that has both the capacity and the legal authority to undertake the project and to whom the DRI funds maybe awarded. A final determination will be made by the State following award announcement as to the entity that will hold the DRI contract.

 
 
 
 

CONTACT US

Questions? Comments? Have a project idea?

Let us know!

Thanks for submitting!