Dunkirk DRI Local Planning Committee Recommends Projects for $10 Million in Funding

Image by Jackson Hickey / WNY News Now.

(WNY News Now) – The Dunkirk Local Planning Committee (LPC) unveiled its final project recommendations for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) during a public workshop, presenting 16 projects seeking $10 million in funding to rejuvenate downtown Dunkirk.

Dunkirk – The Dunkirk Local Planning Committee (LPC), tasked with spearheading the City of Dunkirk’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), has officially revealed its highly anticipated project recommendations, representing a collective funding request of $10 million. These recommendations were disclosed during the conclusive public workshop held on Thursday evening, November 2, at the Dunkirk High School Cafeteria.

The LPC’s proposed projects stand at the forefront of a DRI-driven transformation, featuring a comprehensive vision designed to reinvigorate the heart of Dunkirk. These endeavors aspire to harness $92.5 million in total project costs, offering the potential to reshape and modernize the city’s downtown area.

Over the course of six months, the Dunkirk DRI Local Planning Committee meticulously evaluated a diverse selection of projects. Their decision-making process incorporated significant input from the public, obtained through surveys, public meetings, community events, and other forms of outreach. This collaboration with the local community played an integral role in shaping the LPC’s recommendations for DRI funding.

Furthermore, the LPC’s rigorous assessment of each project considered multiple factors. These included alignment with the Dunkirk DRI’s overarching goals, synchronization with the State’s DRI objectives, and adherence to both local and state evaluation criteria. Evaluation criteria included factors such as project readiness, financial viability, overall cost, matching funds, and, most importantly, the potential to catalyze a downtown renaissance in Dunkirk.

The proposed projects earmarked for DRI funding and the recommended funding amount for each are as follows:

  • Redevelop the Ehlers Building to House a Mix of Uses: $1,400,000
  • Improve Demetri’s on the Lake with a New Façade and Interior Upgrades: $500,000
  • Restore and Activate a Vacant Storefront to House a Café: $307,000
  • Redevelop the Lake Shore National Bank Building to House Retail and Market-Rate Apartments: $900,000
  • Expand the Central Station Restaurant and add an Apartment: $274,000
  • Enhance the Chadwick Bay Marina with Transient Boat Slips and Boater Amenities: $1,000,000
  • Construct the Memorial Park Amphitheater and Welcome Center: $1,310,000
  • Establish the Downtown Dunkirk Small Project Fund: $359,000
  • Construct 78 Affordable Apartments and a Daycare Facility on Two Sites: $500,000
  • Expand the City of Dunkirk Marina through New Docks: $2,000,000
  • Rebuild 31 Affordable Housing Units Across Seven Sites: $500,000
  • Refurbish the Graf Building to House a Workforce Development Training Center: $2,200,000
  • Rehabilitate Stearns Court to Create a Public Gathering Place: $423,000
  • Renovate the Macaroni Building to House 13 Market-Rate Apartments and Medical Offices: $500,000
  • Revive the Historic Adams Building to House Arts and Youth Programming: $1,127,000
  • Update the Clarion Hotel Building and Grounds: $1,700,000

These recommendations are poised to be integrated into Dunkirk’s Strategic Investment Plan, which will be submitted to the state of New York for consideration. The State will allocate $9.7 million in DRI funding for downtown Dunkirk. The final selection of projects for grant awards will be made by the State, with announcements expected in late 2023 or early 2024. Any projects not selected for funding in this round will still remain eligible for future grant applications to the State.

For further insights into the Dunkirk DRI program, including the presentation from the recent workshop, visit https://dunkirkdri.com.

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