10.21.14

SCHUMER: REVITALIZATION OF VILLAGE OF HERKIMER’S MAIN STREET KEY TO ECONOMIC GROWTH – SENATOR JOINS WITH NEW MAYOR TO DEVISE PLAN FOR SECURING FED FUNDS TO HELP SPUR MAIN STREET REDEVELOPMENT

Lack of Development on Village of Herkimer’s Main Street Has Been Holding Back Local Economy & Job Growth – New Herkimer Mayor Wants to Focus on Revitalizing Main Street, but Fed Funds Will Be Needed to Reinvigorate the Area

Schumer Meets With Local Herkimer Business Leaders & Tours Main Street, Discusses Fed Funding Opportunities for Village & Vows To Go To Bat For Projects


Schumer Also Urges Owner of Three-Story Abandoned, Decrepit Glory Days Building – Which Is Holding Back Main Street Redevelopment – To Work With Village on Demolition Plan

Today, in front of the Glory Days Building in Village of Herkimer, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer pledged his support of efforts to revitalize the Village of Herkimer’s Main Street. Schumer said that Herkimer’s new mayor has placed a priority on redeveloping Main Street, but federal funds will be needed to turn this vision into reality. Schumer toured Main Street, met with local business leaders, and discussed various federal programs and funding opportunities that can provide a boost to Main Street redevelopment plans. Schumer specifically addressed the vacant and blighted Glory Days building on Main Street, which is a significant eyesore, and a property that Village officials want to tear down after the roof recently caved in. It also it previously served as a hide-out following a shooting spree. Schumer said that the owner of this building has not engaged in talks with Herkimer to determine a path forward for the property, and Schumer urged the owner to work with the Village on a demolition plan.

“A village’s Main Street is its gathering point, its business center, and its beating heart. I am here today to join with the Village of Herkimer’s new mayor, Anthony Brindisi, and business leaders to hear their thoughts on redeveloping Main Street and to lend any help I can toward their efforts. Main Street Herkimer has loads of potential that remains untapped and I am here today to begin charting a path toward smart redevelopment,” said Schumer. “We are looking for ways to reinvigorate this area and breathe new life into this corridor, and I will be working hard to identify and secure any federal funding opportunities that can help in this effort. I have helped with many Main Street revitalization projects around the state, and I will go to bat for Herkimer in its effort to make redevelopment here a reality.”

During his visit, Schumer joined new Village of Herkimer Mayor Tony Brindisi to devise a plan to secure federal funds that would allow the village to focus on Main Street revitalization. Schumer explained that the new mayor has prioritized redeveloping Main Street, but significant federal funds would likely be needed to make redevelopment projects a reality. Schumer noted that he has worked in the past to secure funds for many downtown and Main Street revitalization projects around the state. For example, Schumer fought for and secured approximately $3 million in federal funds for Williamsville, located in Erie County, for the Town’s “Picture Main Street” project, which seeks to revitalize the neighborhood around the historic Williamsville Water Mill on Spring Street. These Williamsville project funds are transforming the high-traffic route into a walkable and pedestrian-oriented boulevard that supports economic revitalization. The project is addressing the lack of parking, challenges for pedestrian crossing, and dense automobile traffic. Schumer also helped secure $1 million in federal funds for Glens Falls’ South Street reconstruction and streetscape improvements. And in Oneida County, Schumer worked with the City of Utica to find ways to utilize federal funds to help create a downtown roundabout that ultimately gave the area a facelift and addressed underground infrastructure problems. In Schenectady, Schumer helped secure funds to revamp the historic Proctors Theatre, which serves as a magnet to draw people downtown.  

Schumer said during his visit that there are a variety of federal funding opportunities he can help tap into on the federal level to grow the Village’s Main Street. Schumer spoke with local elected officials and business leaders to discuss possible federal grants and loan programs that could be targeted, including U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Section 108 loans to help with demolition costs, Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP) Grants for bicycle and other alternative transportation infrastructure, Small Business Administration (SBA) loans to help local businesses expand, Economic Development Agency (EDA) funds to create economic development plans and support the creation of business parks and new industry, and Green Infrastructure Grants that are funded through the federal Clean Water Act and help communities implement new and innovative approaches to manage storm water and encourage commercial development. Schumer said that all of these are possible avenues for the Village to pursue in terms of federal funds, and which ones they should pursue will depend on final plans for Main Street.

Schumer was joined by Herkimer Mayor Anthony Brindisi; Herkimer Village Trustees; Herkimer County Legislature Chairman Vincent Bono; and John Scarano, Chairman of Herkimer County Chamber of Commerce. Schumer first spoke in front of the Glory Days building, then toured Main Street and met with local business leaders.

“As a new Mayor it is essential to hit the ground running and Senator Schumer is giving my team the jumpstart we need to tackle problems that have lingered for a long time. We want to address the crumbling Glory Days site. We want to find an owner for Quackenbush and we want to give Main Street some major attention. Senator Schumer is showcasing the right options at the right time and we look forward to working with him on determining what might work best for Herkimer,” said Herkimer Mayor Tony Brindisi.

Schumer also discussed the possibility of revitalizing two specific properties in the downtown area in order to spur further economic development in the area. First, Schumer discussed the Glory Days Building on Main Street. Schumer explained that the bar and hotel has been abandoned for years and is holding back Main Street development. Schumer noted that the building currently has an out-of-town owner who is not presently in talks with the city regarding rehabilitation efforts. During this visit, Schumer pledged to reach out to the owner and urge her to work with the Village to explore ways they can work together to rehabilitate, or even demolish and rebuild, this building to create something new and revitalized on Main Street.

Schumer said, “The Glory Days Building is a perfect example of a site primed for redevelopment. As planning for Main Street gets underway, we need the owner of the building to work with city officials to be part of the revitalization effort. A crumbling eyesore should no longer be part of Herkimer’s future.”

Second, Schumer pointed to another downtown site that should be looked at for refurbishing and revamping, the old Quackenbush site on Prospect Street that has been abandoned for years. Schumer explained that once the site was vacated in 2005, it was left highly contaminated and inoperable. Though the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did an emergency cleanup of the site, there is still lingering contamination that is holding up redevelopment. Schumer said that the Village could target funding through the EPA’s brownfields cleanup program that could set the village on a path to reopening the site to development and business. According to the local IDA, there are a number of groups interested in developing the former Quackenbush site, including one group interested in opening a micro-brewery, but more cleanup needs to be done before any business can safely move onto the property and revamp it. Given the immediate interest in the site, Schumer promised local officials that he would immediately reignite talks with the EPA on behalf of locals to get this project moving again.

Schumer stated that a village’s Main Street is its gathering point and business center. Therefore, Schumer said, the Village of Herkimer’s Main Street must be a focus for future development if it is going to spur business, economic revenue, and overall activity in the downtown area.

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