The Oneonta Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a project that started in 2016, when Oneonta was granted $10 million in state funding as part of the DRI program. The DRI projects are continuously being worked on today.
The current DRI programs listed for the allocation of the funds are the DRI Downtown Improvement Fund, DRI Branding/Marketing and Downtown Wayfinding Program, New Transit Hub and Parking Garage Renovation, Market Street Streetscape, Water Street Boardwalk, and Muller Plaza Passage, Artspace Preliminary Feasibility Report and the Oneonta Theater Feasibility Study and Business Development.
As part of the DRI Branding, Marketing and Downtown Wayfinding Program, the DRI Downtown Wayfinding signs have recently been ordered and will be installed when they arrive. “These will be directional and parking signs that will be located throughout the downtown and other areas of the city,” Community Development Director Judy Pangman said.
The DRI Downtown Improvement Fund has also resulted in around 40 new signage and facade improvement projects that are nearly complete, Pangman said.
“The remaining projects, including new upper floor housing units, will be completed by mid-2023. The Downtown Improvement Fund has invested more than $2 million in downtown businesses and buildings that have updated the downtown, and will create nearly 100 new housing units to year-round residents,” Pangman said.
Additionally, as part of the New Transit Hub and Parking Garage Renovation program, a design for the Market Street Transportation Project is underway according to Pangman.
“The project includes a new transit hub, renovation of the parking garage, pedestrian improvements from Main Street to Market Street and Market Street streetscape improvements. The design consultants will present the preliminary design at a special Common Council meeting to be held on Aug. 11 at 6 pm in Council Chambers at City Hall,” Pangman said.
As part of the DRI Downtown Improvement Fund, businesses were awarded $2,335,000 in grants for signage and awnings, façade improvements, creation of upper floor market rate housing and transformative projects within the DRI boundary, according to the Oneonta community development website.
Businesses selected for these projects consist of the Artisans Guild, B-Side, Autumn Café, Catholic Charities, Golden Guernsey, Green Earth, The Copper Fox, Denim and Diamonds, The Greater Oneonta Historical Society and others.
Other high priority initiatives for the DRI program include the improvement of internal accessibility and directional awareness, to conduct a feasibility study to either rehabilitate or rebuild the James F. Lettis Apartments, pursue the next phase of development for the “Upper Susquehanna Agricultural Center” and to continue to work with Otsego NOW for the successful redevelopment of the former rail yard, according to a community development report.
“Downtown Oneonta is a richly diverse shopping and entertainment center that is widely known for the quality of the goods and services offered in a setting that is aesthetically attractive and genuinely pleasing. In achieving this well-deserved status the downtown reinforces and expands upon its uniquely held position as the true urban center for the City and the region,” according to the vision statement in the community development report.