Weekly Feature

2017-10-11 / Local News

North Tonawanda to receive Buffalo Billion funding

Four Western New York communities, including North Tonawanda, have been selected to receive up to $10 million in funding from the Buffalo Billion II initiative, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

In addition to North Tonawanda, the cities of Lackawanna and Dunkirk and the Village of Gowanda are recipients of Smart Growth Community funds for projects that use existing infrastructure to support placemaking, walkable communities and sustainable development.

North Tonawanda could receive up to $2.5 million.

“Buffalo Billion funding is establishing accessible, vibrant and sustainable communities across the entire region,” Cuomo said. “Through this initial round of the Smart Growth Community Fund, we are encouraging the growth of new businesses, restaurants and greenspace that will help attract young workers, build prosperity and further fuel the renaissance of Western New York.”

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council made recommendations for the four communities to receive a portion of the available Smart Growth Community funding.

Following approval of the nominations, Empire State Development staff made a visit to each of the recommended communities to discuss their proposed project list and to better understand the locations and readiness of each project.

In August, the visit report was presented at the WNYREDC meeting and received approval from the committee to proceed with the awards.

“Thank you to Governor Cuomo for selecting North Tonawanda to receive funding from the WNY Smart Growth Community Fund and also for visiting our city,” said North Tonawanda Mayor Arthur Pappas. “North Tonawanda will now be able to move forward in enhancing the walkability and access to parks and greenspace for residents, as well as visitors to our great city,”

“An important part of Western New York’s resurgence has been our success in developing a sense of place that is attractive to businesses, families and young people in search of a place to build their future,” said Sen. Chris Jacobs, adding that the funding “will help these four Western New York communities create the kind of environment in their cities and village that will strengthen our entire region.”

The four Western New York communities were chosen based on applications and interviews that closely aligned with and met criteria of the Smart Growth Community Funds, according to Cuomo’s office. The remaining $10 million of the fund will be awarded in future Smart Growth rounds.

“This is a tremendous investment in our communities that will help local governments, create jobs and improve quality of life for residents. Importantly, it will build upon the downtown revitalization success we've seen transform North Tonawanda and similar communities across Western New York,” said state Sen. Rob Ortt.

North Tonawanda projects could include:

Funding for improvements at Gateway Harbor, including new public restrooms, upgraded electrical utilities to docks, new park picnic areas and lighting.

Streetscape and pedestrian enhancements on Webster Street and Main Street, both considered important to the fabric of the central business district.

Pocket park improvements, including new landscaping, signage and amenities at three downtown locations.

Signage and visual improvements at downtown entry points.

Pedestrian improvements at three crossings located on River Road.

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