Hornell Gets $10 Million For Downtown Revitalization

October 9, 2019

Updated 3:26pm (Updated to show Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Statement)

HORNELL, NY – (Breaking) Appearing in Hornell at the Main Place this morning, Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul announced that Hornell will be getting $10 million dollars for Downtown Revitalization.

From Sen. O’Mara:
Hornell joins the city of Elmira (Chemung County), and the villages of Penn Yan (Yates County) and Watkins Glen (Schuyler County) as DRI recipients within the 58th Senate District represented by O’Mara. “As we keep building strategies for a stronger future for the Southern Tier region, this investment in Hornell will continue to help the city move forward, revitalize the downtown for businesses and residents alike, and encourage a transformation that will benefit the entire area,” said Senator Tom O’Mara.

From Governor Andrew Cuomo:

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that Hornell will receive $10 million in funding as the Southern Tier winner of the fourth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. As in the first three rounds of the DRI, one municipality from each of the state’s 10 regional economic development regions is selected as a $10 million winner, marking another overall state goal to target $100 million in funding and investments to help communities boost their economies by transforming downtowns into vibrant neighborhoods where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise a family.

“With this funding Hornell has a great opportunity to enhance its downtown area and secure better quality of life for the residents, along with a more robust economic future for the region,” Governor Cuomo said. “We have seen a remarkable resurgence across New York’s Southern Tier communities as a result of strategic investments through programs like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, and we will continue to work with and empower these communities as they work to make the most of their local assets.”

“With funding from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Hornell will be able to reimagine its future and invest in key projects to grow the local economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “I’ve been to DRI communities across New York, and have seen firsthand the transformation that occurs with this targeted investment. The City of Hornell will now begin a planning effort to support local projects and attract businesses to the area, helping to boost the entire Southern Tier region.”


Located on the western border of Steuben County, Hornell’s walkable downtown runs along a wide Main Street flanked by numerous small businesses, valuable historic structures, and mixed-use residential options animated by a growing arts community and strong partnerships with nearby educational institutions. Recent investment in local housing options, manufacturing facilities, arts and cultural offerings, healthcare centers, commercial and mixed-use development, and public infrastructure, including an Upstate Revitalization Initiative Award to Alstom Transportation for a Rail Manufacturing Center for Excellence, has set the stage for the resurgence of a community still reckoning with the enduring impact of urban renewal. The DRI award will enable Hornell to continue to rebound by supporting the cultural, historic, educational, recreational, artistic, dining, and retail opportunities necessary to sustain a robust workforce, engaged citizens, and a high standard of living.

The Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council went through a competitive review process of proposals from communities throughout the region and considered all seven criteria below before recommending Hornell as its nominee for winner:

• The downtown should be compact, with well-defined boundaries;
• The downtown is able to capitalize on prior or catalyze future private and public investment in the neighborhood and its surrounding areas;
• There should be recent or impending job growth within, or in close proximity to the downtown that can attract workers to the downtown, support redevelopment and make growth sustainable;
• The downtown must be an attractive and livable community for diverse populations of all ages, including existing residents, millennials and skilled workers;
• The municipality should already embrace or have the ability to create and implement policies that increase livability and quality of life, including the use of local land banks, modern zoning codes and parking standards, complete streets plans, energy efficient projects, green jobs, and transit-oriented development;
• The municipality should have conducted an open and robust community engagement process resulting in a vision for downtown revitalization and a preliminary list of projects and initiatives that may be included in a DRI strategic investment plan; and
• The municipality has identified transformative projects that will be ready for implementation with an infusion of DRI funds within the first one to two years.

Hornell’s fourth-round DRI win entitles the city to receive $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize its downtown neighborhoods and generate new opportunities for long-term growth. Hornell now joins the City of Elmira and Villages of Watkins Glen and Owego, which were the Southern Tier’s winners in the first three DRI rounds, respectively.

Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-Designate Eric Gertler said, “The Downtown Revitalization Initiative investment reflects our commitment to economic opportunity not just in the City of Hornell, but throughout the entire Southern Tier. Our efforts will ensure that this region’s residents will benefit from job creation and business development now and well into the future.”

New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “The City of Hornell is a vibrant community ready to generate robust economic growth to become a commercial engine of the region. Thanks to the Governor’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Hornell will continue to build upon the economic plan to propel urban development, jobs, and communities where people can live, work and raise a family.”

New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “This $10 million investment from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative will help build a stronger future for Hornell and keep the Southern Tier soaring. Through this strategic program, Governor Cuomo is delivering new job and housing opportunities, business growth and more vibrant downtowns that is making New York’s cities, towns and villages a better place to live and a destination for visitors.”

Senator Tom O’Mara said, “We are grateful for this significant state investment in the future of Hornell and the entire Southern Tier region. Hornell offers exciting foundations on which to build, beginning with the incredible success of Alstom and the many industries that support the design and building of America’s first high-speed rail. We are hopeful this significant state support will continue to advance short- and long-term community revitalization and economic growth. We continue to appreciate the commitment and leadership of Governor Cuomo and his administration, our regional economic development council, and so many local leaders for taking these critical steps to spark economic and community development across the region. As we keep building strategies for a stronger future for the Southern Tier region, this investment in Hornell will continue to help the city move forward, revitalize the downtown for businesses and residents alike, and encourage a transformation that will benefit the entire area.”

Assembly Member Marjorie Byrnes said, “It’s a great day for the City of Hornell. Local government, small business owners, and community members have been working hard to create a welcoming, prosperous business district. This funding will allow for further revitalization of the downtown area and a tremendous boost for the business community.”

Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chairs Harvey Stenger, President of Binghamton University, and Judy McKinney Cherry, Executive Director SCOPED, said, “The City of Hornell is a highly deserving candidate for this investment which will focus on renovations and additions to the downtown area that are sure to benefit both residents and visitors, transforming the city center into a true destination for New Yorkers and beyond.”

Jack K. Wheeler, Steuben County Manager, said, “Steuben County is very grateful to the state and the Regional Economic Development Council for Hornell’s award of $10 million in DRI funds. Officials at all levels of government and industry worked very hard to develop a compelling application, and we’re thrilled it was successful. Hornell is experiencing a resurgence on many fronts and these funds will play a critical role in development efforts.”

Hornell Mayor John Buckley said, “Winning the DRI is a game changer for the City of Hornell. Projects that were once mere dreams can now become reality. This grant will open the doorway of economic opportunity and propel the City to new heights. A heartfelt thank you goes out to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul for making this large, impactful investment in the Maple City. I’d also like to thank Senator Tom O’Mara and Assemblywoman Margorie Byrnes for all of their support along the way. It was this team effort that made this day possible, and I am proud to have worked alongside so many dedicated and talented individuals. As we look toward a brighter future, let us celebrate today, for we have much to be thankful for.”

Hornell will now begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown Hornell will examine local assets and opportunities and identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The downtown Hornell Strategic Investment Plan will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the community’s vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state’s $10 million investment. Plans for the DRI’s fourth round will be complete in 2020.

More information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative is available here.

Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring

Today’s announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $6.2 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Binghamton, Johnson City and Corning as a destination in which to grow and invest. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.