12.12.13

SCHUMER SECURES FIRST $800,000 FOR WILLIAMSVILLES PICTURE MAIN STREET PROJECT, FEDERAL FUNDING WILL MAKE MAIN ST. SAFER, MORE BUSINESS PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY

brIn July, Schumer Visited Williamsville Pushed the Environmental Facilities Corporation to Provide Support to this important Williamsville Project That Plan is Now Paying Dividends with the First $800,000 SecuredbrbrSchumer Says Funding Will Help Transform Spring St. and Main St. in Williamsville and will Make the Village Safer and More Business-FriendlybrbrSchumer: Picture Main St. No Longer a Vision Federal Funding is Helping it Become a Realitybrbr

Today, Senator Schumer announced that he has secured the first $800,000 for the "Picture Main Street" project in Williamsville that will revitalize the neighborhood around the historic Williamsville Water Mill on Spring Street. In July, Schumer joined Mayor Brian Kulpa, and local business leaders and village board members to push for several pots of funding to support the project, the first of which was a Federal Green Infrastructure Grant provided through the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC). Today, Schumer announced that EFC has heeded his call and provided $800,000 in federal funds to help support the $6 million project. The funding will be used to install rain gardens, a retention wall, and improve the streetscaping around the historic Water Mill. In addition, the project will help prevent further erosion and damage to Glen Park due to storm water runoff from the Village. With the recent announcement that Sweet Jenny's Ice Cream will be leasing space in the Mill, this first allotment of federal funds will help build on the efforts underway to enhance the village.

 

"I am thrilled the Environmental Facilities Corporation is using federal funds to join the movement to picture Main St. in Williamsville as it could be - a vibrant and bustling business district that is a statewide model for business activity, pedestrian safety and green infrastructure," said Schumer. "This $800,000 investment will help accomplish so many goals, from public safety, to boosting local shopping and businesses, to enhancing the natural beauty of Glen Park - this project is a game changer for Williamsville. I will continue to work with Mayor Brian Kulpa and the rest of the leadership in Williamsville to secure the remaining funds needed to complete this project."

 

"Spring Street is in the midst of an exciting transformation thanks to a critical investment by Senator Schumer," Mayor Brian J. Kulpa said. "Not only is the street coming back to life, it is becoming the greenest and most environmentally sound street in our village."

 

Now that the first $800,000 has been secured, Schumer will continue to work with Mayor Kulpa to secure additional federal funding from other sources, including the Water Quality Improvement Grant Program and the Transportation Enhancement Program. In July, Schumer explained that a project of this scope would need to be funded from a variety of sources and he has worked together with the Village to develop a plan that seeks funding from all of those sources. Schumer also noted that this work will pave the way for further economic development and investment in Williamsville. Momentum from the project is already paying dividends, as this fall Sweet Jenny's Ice Cream announced they would occupy 1,000 sq. ft. of space in the historic Mill which is in the heart of the area Schumer and Kulpa are working to revitalize.

 

"Thanks to Senator Schumer and his support, our efforts to remake both Main and Spring Streets are now seeing their first private investments with the grand reopening of the Williamsville Water Mill as Sweet Jenny's," Kulpa said. "Senator Schumer's hard work made this investment possible."

 

 The Green Infrastructure Grant Program, which the funding has been secured for comes from a provision in the Clean Water Act that authorizes the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) to fund projects in a variety of green infrastructure areas, including the types of projects included in the Picture Main St. plan. This program recently received an infusion of approximately $10M in federal funding, and Schumer pushed for a piece of that to go to Williamsville. Schumer said that projects like the one in Williamsville were exactly the types of programs that federal government had in mind when they created this program. Schumer also highlighted that the Williamsville projects was so innovative in its use of green storm water retention techniques that it could serve as an excellent example for EPA and EFC to use when they encourage other communities to explore similar types of systems. 

 

The project, which has a combined construction budget of $6.7 million is expected to create significant construction jobs. In addition, the plan will create a new "off main street" business district around the historic Mill and Spring St. creating a permanent home for the Williamsville Farmers Market, new retail and commercial space and will trigger an immediate investment of nearly $4 million into the mill property. In addition, the Village predicts that at least 8 new parcels of "infill" development will take place once the project is complete - all of which will lead to an increase in visitors and shopping throughout the Village. The Williamsville Business Association, which represents local retails, restaurants, and other businesses throughout the village projects that the project will have a significant net positive impact for all existing local businesses, in addition to attracting new businesses to the region.

 

"Picture Main Street" is a comprehensive plan designed by the Village of Williamsville that seeks to address these problems by improving a number of different amenities along Main Street, including: widening sidewalks, making aesthetic improvements, updating signage and traffic signals and lighting, and increasing the availability of parking. Schumer argued that these measures, among others, will help cut down on traffic, improve the access to local businesses and attract more visitors to Williamsville. Schumer is pushing for two federal pots of money to support the Williamsville project.

 

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