Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 12 transformational projects for Olean as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. The strategic investments in downtown Olean will highlight historic properties, improve streetscapes throughout the area and invite new economic growth. The investments are part of the Governor’s ongoing efforts to revitalize the upstate economy and create more opportunities for Western New York.
“Through these targeted investments, we are highlighting all that Olean has to offer while ushering in new growth and prosperity for generations to come,” Governor Cuomo said. “By preserving its historic architecture and revitalizing prime waterfront properties, Olean is sure to be a sought-after downtown destination for residents and visitors alike.”
Olean was named a DRI Round 2 winner in September. Olean’s historic downtown is walkable and bikeable, bounded by Olean Creek and the Allegheny River. The area includes the Central Business District with several landmark buildings, adjoining residential districts, and recreational assets including Bradner Stadium and a recreation center. The area also includes the Olean General Hospital, Jamestown Community College, and a newly opened Olean Business Development Center which provides services to entrepreneurs. The city will build on these assets to create a vibrant and active 24-hour downtown that supports a growing and diverse population of residents who are optimistic about opportunity to work, learn, and thrive in Olean.
The specific projects to be funded through the DRI include:
Redevelop the Historic Manny Hanny Building: Redevelop the vacant Manny Hanny Building, a historic landmark in the heart of downtown, for use as a restaurant, boutique hotel, and market-rate and luxury apartments. ($2,000,000)
Complete Renovation of Historic Row Buildings on North Union Street: Finish ongoing renovations of two historic row buildings at 319 and 321 North Union Street. DRI funds will complete Phase II, including framing and rough mechanicals for the first floors and basements of each building to accommodate restaurants or other commercial tenants. ($100,000)
Expand Four Mile Brewing: Improve a historic structure occupied by Four Mile Brewing and Allegheny Adventures overlooking the Alleghany River. The project, which will enhance a downtown anchor establishment and allow for new residential and commercial opportunities, includes roof replacement; canning equipment purchased and installed; a space renovated for a commercial tenant and two apartments. ($411,250)
Renovate the former Carnegie Library Building and Inn: Renovate the exterior and interior of the historic library building and current events facility to establish a destination restaurant, event center, and adjacent day spa in the heart of downtown at 116 and 120 South Union Street. Improvements will be made to lighting, flooring, atrium space, a bar or lounge, dining areas, the mezzanine, kitchen, and bathrooms. ($719,500)
Create a Downtown Revitalization & Rehabilitation Fund: Establish a matching grant fund to encourage and support investment in downtown properties. Funds could be used for façade renovations and interior renovations, including upper floor housing renovations or conversions and first floor retain improvements. ($600,000)
Improve the North Union Street Streetscape: Improve the streetscape of North Union Street and State Street through beautification, appropriate lighting, seasonal banners, sidewalk replacement, and seating in front of restaurants. Wayfinding improvements will also be made. ($900,000)
Implement Streetscape Improvements on West State Street: Redesign and improve West State Street to make it inviting and safer for pedestrian and cyclists, while accommodating traffic on the busy road. Improvements will be made to pedestrian crossings, landscaping, sidewalks, lighting, and street furniture. Space for on-street parking, bump outs, and road striping will help calm traffic. ($1,600,000)
Improve the South Union Street Gateway Corridor: Improve the downtown gateway corridor of South Union Street between Henley Street and South Street by eliminating a traffic signal and replacing it with roundabouts. The project will include bump outs, medians, a bike lane, crossing enhancements, and sidewalk replacements. ($1,400,000)
Renovate 211 North Union Street: Renovate an existing Union Street building for mixed-use development, including retail or office space and four loft-style apartments on the upper floors. DRI funding will complement private investment already committed to the project, allowing for façade improvements and other exterior renovations that will transform the public appearance of the currently-vacant building, making it attractive for new commercial and residential tenants. ($194,250)
Implement Walkable Olean Phase III: A combination of traffic calming, streetscape and crossing improvements will transform the East State Street mixed-use corridor into an inviting, walkable, vibrant area. Improvements will be made to intersections and streets, and include medians, landscaping, bump outs, parking improvements, and a shared use path. The project will create an important connection between downtown, a proposed Farmers’ Market in Lincoln Park, the Allegheny River Trail network, Bradner Stadium and War Veteran’s Park. ($1,200,000)
Establish a Permanent Home for the African-American Center: Renovate 201 East State Street, the oldest building in Olean, to create a home for the African American Center for Cultural Development. The interior will be outfitted for exhibition, performance space, and event space and include updated heating and electrical systems. Exterior work will include a new roof, siding, windows, and insulation. ($225,000)
Improve Oak Hill Park: The underused Oak Hill park will gain new life with improvements designed to upgrade existing facilities and install new amenities designed to complement the needs of the neighborhood and downtown. Improvements will include addition of a seasonal stage and a dog park, updated lighting and landscaping, restoration of pedestrian paths, as accessible park entrance, and other enhancements. ($350,000)
Olean developed a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown Olean examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.
The DRI projects are the latest example of Governor Cuomo’s ongoing commitment to Olean and Western New York. Previously, the Governor announced a $6 million facility at Jamestown Community College’s Cattaraugus County Campus in Olean to provide education and training for high-demand manufacturing technologies. Additionally, the Governor’s WNY Regional Economic Development Council and the Environmental Facilities Corporation invested $1.865 million to create Walkable Olean.
“The Downtown Revitalization Initiative is a fundamental component of our upstate economic development strategy because we know that a thriving downtown can be an economic catalyst for an entire region,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “The projects awarded today advance the progress we have seen in Olean, providing a significant boost for the city. Today’s announcement will allow the City of Olean to build on its role as an economic, educational, and recreational hub in Western New York and accelerate the renewal of walkable spaces throughout downtown.”
New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Olean is an important part of Western New York’s renaissance and we are proud to see these projects become a reality. Thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, Olean is prepared for a bright future.”
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Olean has worked hard to develop a vision for its Downtown that is uniquely focused on strategic projects that will spur additional growth and attract and retain a talented workforce.”
Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Through Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, these community-led, targeted investments will combine with HCR’s $200 million investment in Western NY over the last seven years that has created affordable housing for about 6,700 residents to help ensure that as Olean’s economy grows, all New Yorkers have the opportunity to take part. In New York State, we are lucky to have a Governor who understands how to build inclusive, long-term economic success.”
Senator Catharine M. Young said, “The exciting DRI projects announced today represent the gateway to downtown Olean’s renaissance. With the state’s $10 million investment, the heart of our historic city will be transformed with new mixed use projects, business expansions and infrastructure improvements that will infuse new vitality into the corridor and create new jobs and economic growth. I thank Governor Cuomo for working with the Senate to secure these funds in the state budget and for his support for Olean. I also applaud city officials, the planning committee, the public and all those who played a role in this critically important process, which was a marvel of collaboration and partnership. I look forward with anticipation to the incredible things ahead for our community.”
Assemblyman Joseph Giglio said, “I am very encouraged by the continued efforts of the State of New York and the City of Olean in moving forward with revitalization efforts. This Downtown Revitalization Initiative award is crucial to the ongoing work of supporting local business development, employment opportunities and entrepreneurial activities in our region. The City of Olean should be commended for its redevelopment initiatives to improve the quality of life for residents, businesses and visitors, and I am pleased that the City will be able to continue its important work with the receipt of this award. I look forward to a bright future for Olean and all of Western New York.”
Western New York REDC Co-Chair and SolEpoxy President Jeff Belt said, “I applaud Olean’s leadership for having the courage and foresight to fight for these projects that will set the table for broad based development. The passion expressed throughout the DRI process speaks highly of the personal investment so many hard working people have made in the beautiful City of Olean.”
WNYREDC Co-Chair and State University of New York at Fredonia President Dr. Virginia Horvath said, “As we have seen first-hand with Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development strategy, the competitive spirit brings out the best in all of us. Olean’s successful Downtown Revitalization Initiative proposal is another example of how specific investments drive further growth. We are proud to see these projects come to fruition.”
Olean Mayor William J. Aiello said, “Olean is a wonderful place to live, work and visit, and thanks to Governor Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, it’s transcending all expectations. We are honored to see these investments come to our community and kickstart projects to rejuvenate our downtown.”