SCHUMER SECURES THIRD FEDERAL INVESTMENT, MORE THAN $1.9 MILLION, FOR WILLIAMSVILLE’S ‘PICTURE MAIN STREET’ PROJECT – FUNDING WILL MAKE SPRING ST. & MAIN ST. SAFER, MORE BUSINESS & PEDESTRIAN FRIENDLY, BRING FUTURE INVESTMENT & DEVELOPMENT TO THE VILLAGE
In 2013, Schumer Visited Williamsville & Pushed Feds to Provide Support to this Important Williamsville Project, Which Would Transform Main St. and Spring St., Improving Walkability and Bringing More Consumers to the Village Schumer Previously Secured Two Federal Investments to Revitalize Williamsville through the “Picture Main Street” Project – Schumer Secured Initial $800,000 Green Infrastructure Grant & $2.5M Fed Highway Admin. Funding to Get Project off Ground Now, Third $1.9M Environmental
Today, Senator Schumer announced that he has secured $1,902,180 for the “Picture Main Street” project in Williamsville, which will revitalize the neighborhood around the historic Williamsville Water Mill on Spring Street. Schumer explained that this will be the third major federal investment that he has secured for the project, bringing the total funding for the “Picture Main Street” to more than $5.2 million. The first grant was a federal Green Infrastructure Grant provided through the Environmental Facilities Corporation (EFC) for $800,000, and the second grant was for $2.5 million from the Federal Highway Administration (FHA). Both grants were key to getting the project off the ground in 2013, and in attracting businesses to the area, such as Sweet Jenny’s in the historic Williamsville Water Mill. This final EFC investment of more than $1.9 million will help bring an innovative green storm water retention project to Spring Street, making Williamsville a leader in local environmental and water protection efforts. Schumer highlighted that the ongoing “Picture Main Street” project will make Williamsville more walkable, livable, and sustainable, attracting new visitors from within the region and beyond. Preparing this unique shopping and restaurant district for the sometimes harsh WNY weather will attract new businesses and residents to locate in the community.
“I am thrilled the Environmental Facilities Corporation is using federal funds to join the movement to picture Main St. in Williamsville as it can be – a vibrant and bustling business district that is a state-wide model for business activity, pedestrian safety, and green infrastructure,” said Schumer. “This $1.9 million investment will help accomplish so many goals, from public safety, to boosting local shopping and businesses, to enhancing Williamsville’s ability to deal with snow and rain. 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.”
“I would like to thank Senator Schumer for his ongoing, unwavering support of the ‘Picture Main Street’ project,” said Mayor Brian Kulpa. “From the very beginning, Senator Schumer recognized that this project would attract new businesses to the Village of Williamsville, and improve the quality of life for our residents. We are thankful for his continued support of our community, and excited for the continued investment and progress along Main Street.”
Schumer noted that all of this work will pave the way for further economic development and investment in Williamsville. Schumer also highlighted that the Williamsville project 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 Water Mill and Spring St., creating a permanent home for the Williamsville Farmers Market, new retail and commercial space. This project will also trigger an immediate private investment of nearly $4 million into the Water Mill property. In addition, the Village predicts that at least 8 new parcels of “in-fill” development will take place once the project is complete – all of which will lead to an increase in business traffic throughout the Village. The Williamsville Business Association, which represents local retailers, 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.
In July 2013, Schumer joined Mayor Brian Kulpa, and local business leaders and village board members to push for several pots of funding to support the project. By December, Schumer had announced that the EFC has heeded his call and provided $800,000 in federal Green Infrastructure Grant program funds to help support the nearly $6 million project. The second grant was for $2.5 million from the FHA. Both of these grants were used to install rain gardens, a retention wall, and improve the streetscaping around the historic Water Mill. In addition, the project helped prevent further erosion and damage to Glen Park due to storm water run-off from the Village. 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.
All of these projects were aimed at the overall goal of attracting additional businesses to the area and Schumer said this allotment of federal funds helped build on the efforts already underway to enhance the village. For example, Sweet Jenny’s Ice Cream, who had been renting space in the historic Water Mill since December 2013, had previously said that their decision to stay long-term would be based on the success of their business at that location. The historic Water Mill was once a hub of activity in the Village but has sat vacant for a number of years. Following the continued success of both their business and the ‘Picture Main St.’ project, in March of 2014, Senator Schumer announced that Sweet Jenny’s would make the Water Mill their permanent home. Schumer and local officials hope to build on that momentum by further revitalizing the area around the Water Mill.
“Picture Main Street” is a comprehensive plan designed by the Village of Williamsville that seeks to improve Main Street in Williamsville by widening sidewalks, making aesthetic improvements, updating signage, traffic signals and lighting, and increasing the availability of parking. Schumer stated that these measures will help cut down on traffic, improve the access to local businesses and attract more visitors to Williamsville.
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