Editorial — Score 1 for persistence: NNY communities are reapplying for state’s DRI program

Several communities in Northern New York are showing their persistence in breathing new life into their business districts.

This is the sixth year that the state has offered its Downtown Revitalization Initiative program, with a total of $100 million being awarded. Each of New York’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils nominates communities to receive $10 million. The final selection is made by a state team.

The first four DRI winners in the north country were Plattsburgh (2017), Watertown (2018), Saranac Lake (2019) and Potsdam (2020). Last year, the state made $20 million available to each REDC; the councils could either select two winners, who would get $10 million apiece, or pick one winner to receive $20 million. Both Massena and Tupper Lake were awarded $10 million last year for the north country region.

“New York state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a cornerstone of the state’s economic development program. The DRI transforms downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers that offer a high quality of life and are magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, and economic and housing diversity,” according to information on the program’s website. “These compact, walkable downtowns are a key ingredient to helping New York state rebuild its economy from the effects of the [novel coronavirus] pandemic as well as to achieving the state’s bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles. The DRI is led b