Montgomery begins the process of revitalization

Posted 3/27/24

On the heels of a successful $4.5 million grant application, the Village of Montgomery must now begin the process of planning to spend that money, but the first order of business was a small …

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Montgomery begins the process of revitalization


On the heels of a successful $4.5 million grant application, the Village of Montgomery must now begin the process of planning to spend that money, but the first order of business was a small celebration.

At last week’s village board meeting, Deputy Mayor Darlene Andolsek presented plaques to Brian Fitzpatrick and Marc Devitt who completed the application to the NY Forward Grant Program that resulted in the award announced last month.

“I know a lot of other people were on committees and helped them, but these two have been there from the very beginning,” Andolsek said. “And they’ve been there for only one reason, not for any personal agenda, for no pay, just because they love this village. “

After receiving their plaques, Devitt and Fitzpatrick delivered the oversized check that bears the signature of Governor Kathy Hochul. It has been used for photos since the announcement was made. A few more photos were taken with the giant check, in front of the village board, and then in front of the audience that packed the meeting room last Wednesday.

“Everybody cares about this community equally. And we’re just so happy that we were able to tell that story,” Devitt said.

Fitzpatrick introduced Susan Landfried from the New York State Office of Planning, Development & Community Infrastructure to outline the next steps in the process.

“It’s going to be a robust process over the next several months, but it’s going to be really exciting and just very much looking forward to working with all of you and figuring out the next path forward for Montgomery,” Landfried said.

Landfried said the program began in 2016 with the creation of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, which awarded grants of $10 million to cities.

“But a couple of years ago, there was a realization that we’re missing a lot of communities in New York State with that $10 million award that there are a lot of communities that have downtowns, then maybe there’s a smaller amount of money that is appropriate,” she said. “And so that is what the governor proposed to New York Forward, and that is a $4.5 million award to smaller, often more rural communities or neighborhoods. And so that is what we’re here to do today. So what this process involves is going to be a planning process that is going to build off the application that Mark and Ryan and many others helped to put together and really lead to the implementation of mostly capital projects.”

Montgomery joins Highland Falls this year as the New York Forward Awardees. Last year it was Cornwall, Hudson and Sleepy Hollow.

In addition to that $4.5 million, the state has also hired a professional consulting team that is going to help lead this entire process. That team includes economic development specialists and urban designers.

“So you all received an award of $4.5 million, but what’s going to ultimately be recommended to the state is between $6 and $8 million of projects,” Landfried said. “And one of the reasons we do that is sometimes when a project is awarded, we have people come back and say, you know what, actually we didn’t need that money.”

Landfried said the consultant team will visit Montgomery and look at its downtown.

“The next big part is that project piece. So we will have a period of time in which we’ll be soliciting project applications. These will be from the municipality. They will be, even the town could potentially submit one,” Landfried said. “I’ve seen that happen. private project sponsors are not -for -profits, can all submit projects. The consultant team and I will work with those projects to help develop them, to help them get to all of the information that they need for the state to review.

The entire process can take up to 10 years. It will include a large amount of public participation.

“We will have a minimum of two public workshops that will be well advertised for you all to come in and tell us your thoughts on the projects but also help tell us what the vision is for downtown, what the goals are, and then other little events around, Landfried, said. “They will continue to make sure that we’re soliciting and being as inclusive and transparent as we can be. And I know that these two gentlemen are particularly committed to making sure that we have as many people here tonight, hopefully many more, come to some of our events and give us their feedback.”

Projects can include park development, streetscapes, public art and other public improvement projects.

“We can do new construction or rehabilitation of downtown buildings. So maybe there’s been a long-term vacant building in downtown and they really want to reactivate the first floor and maybe put a couple of apartments above,” Landfried said. “That’s something that’s eligible. We have what’s called a small project grant fund. And so these are for projects that are maybe not stand -alone, transformative, catalytic by themselves, but they really want to improve their facades.”

The public comment period will be open for at least four weeks and advertised in advance, to allow residents the opportunity to meet with the consultants. A local planning committee will be established by late April or early May, with a heavy period of public engagement in the later part of May.