THE NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF STATE AND THE CITY OF OLEAN ANNOUNCE THE COMPLETION OF THE NORTH UNION STREETSCAPE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT AS PART OF GOVERNOR KATHY HOCHUL’S DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION INITIATIVE
The $1.1 Million Project will help Transform Downtown Olean into a Vibrant District
This Public Works Project Complements and Connects Other DRI-funded Projects in the City
Olean’s North Union Streetscape Project Will Help Spur Economic Development and Attract the Next Generation of Residents and Businesses
The New York State Secretary of State today announced the ribbon cutting for the North Union Streetscape Improvement Project following major renovations as part of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) for the City of Olean. The $1.1 million project will help transform Olean’s downtown into a vibrant district with the intention of attracting the next generation of New Yorkers to invest and live in Olean.
“Our downtowns are strong and will continue to be a key part of business, economic, and social activities. The North Union Streetscape project will bring a new face to Downtown Olean, to help spur economic development, attract new businesses, and to continue strengthening the sense of community for the residents of this great city,” said Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. “This project is just one of the many DRI success stories that are helping downtowns throughout the state experience a long overdue revitalization and support the building of infrastructure for a 21st Century economy.”
The North Union Streetscape Improvements funded in part by the DRI include diverse enhancements to the downtown area of Olean, including transformation of the plaza in front of the Municipal Building, outdoor seating with fire pits at two locations, safety lighting at crosswalks, decorative lighting along the street, upgraded landscaping and sidewalks, as well as wayfinding and interpretive signs. This project also implements the city’s plan for Union Street in its report, Walkable Olean: A Vision for Union Street.
State Senator George M. Borello said, “Olean has a vibrant, beautiful downtown nestled amid the rolling hills of the Alleghenies. The North Union Streetscape Improvement Project continues the city’s resurgence. This project has revitalized the business district, making North Union Street an inviting destination for shoppers and pedestrians. This project has enhanced residents’ quality of life. It will also boost tourism and tax revenues. Congratulations to Mayor Aiello and the City of Olean for pursing this project. I also want to thank Gov. Hochul and New York Secretary of State Rodriquez for supporting it.”
Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio said, “Olean’s ongoing transformation has been a joy and a delight to witness. The most recent renovations add features that make the downtown even more vibrant and inviting. These additions complement the attractions that have already received funding and upgrades to make the City a great place to visit and to call home. I couldn’t be more pleased with the results of this initiative.”
City of Olean Mayor William Aiello said. “I am pleased that the construction on North Union Street is complete. I would like to thank the New York State Department of State for funding this project; the enhancements have added a festive ambiance to the street, they have made it safer and brighter for pedestrians and made it more attractive for those passing through our city.”
This project is a vital component of Olean’s vision is to make the city vibrant and residents optimistic about opportunities to work, to learn, and to thrive in Olean, with a special emphasis on retaining younger and college-educated residents. Olean’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative area is a historic downtown that is walkable and bikeable, bounded by Olean Creek and the Allegheny River. The area includes the Central Business District with several landmark buildings plus adjoining residential districts along with several recreational assets. The area also includes the Olean General Hospital and Jamestown Community College. A newly opened Olean Business Development Center provides services to entrepreneurs. By focusing investments on people and places, Olean’s revitalization is sustainable and equitable.
Named a Round 2 winner in 2017, the City of Olean was selected through a competitive process to receive $10 million in DRI funding administered by various New York State agencies to help transform Olean’s Downtown District into a vibrant community with the intention of attracting the next generation of New Yorkers to invest and live in Olean. Numerous projects were submitted for consideration for DRI funding. The City of Olean received $5.45 million for five public works projects including the North Union Streetscape Improvements and improvements to South Union Street, West State Street, East State Street, and Oak Hill Park. Other projects that received DRI funding include the First National Bank building otherwise known as the Manufacturer’s Hanover Bank or “Manny Hanny” building, the Old Library Restaurant & Inn, Four Mile Brewing, and the African American Center for Cultural Development. A downtown revitalization and rehabilitation fund was also established to encourage and support investment in downtown properties.
About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
In 2016, New York State launched a major new initiative —the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Through this initiative, the State moved to aggressively accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment in all 10 regions of the state. The initiative represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation.
Through five rounds of the DRI program, New York State has committed $600 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity.
Participating communities are nominated by the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown’s potential for transformation, and each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization.
The initiative is headed by New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and New York State Homes and Community Renewal.