Governor Hochul Highlights FY 2025 Budget Investments in the Southern Tier –

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Governor’s Budget Includes $1.4 Billion In School Aid for Southern Tier – A $10 Million Increase; $123 Million for Binghamton University to Undergo Renovations and Maintenance
Governor Hochul Also Announced Hamlets of Roxbury and Grand Gorge to Jointly Receive $10 Million from Downtown Revitalization Initiative; Groton and Urbana/Hammondsport to Receive $4.5 Million Each from NY Forward
14 Southern Tier Localities, Including the Town of Roxbury, Village of Groton, Town of Urbana, and Village of Hammondsport, Join 143 Localities Statewide in Launching Applications to Become Pro-Housing Communities
Governor Kathy Hochul today highlighted FY 2025 Budget investments in the Southern Tier during a visit to Binghamton University. The Governor announced $1.4 billion in school aid for the Southern Tier – a $10 million increase in aid – as well as $123 million for renovations and maintenance at Binghamton University. The budget also includes $84.7 million for health care capital projects in the Southern Tier and $7.5 million for improvements at Taughannock Falls State Park. Governor Hochul also announced that the Hamlets of Roxbury and Grand Gorge, located within the Town of Roxbury, will receive $10 million in funding as the joint Southern Tier Region winners of the seventh round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. The Village of Groton and Urbana/Hammondsport will receive $4.5 million each as this year’s Southern Tier region NY Forward winners. 14 Southern Tier localities, including the Town of Roxbury, Village of Groton, Town of Urbana, and Village of Hammondsport, join 143 localities statewide in launching applications to become Pro-Housing Communities. The City of Binghamton, the Village of Dryden, and the Village of Johnson City are already certified Pro-Housing Communities in the Southern Tier.
“We are making transformative investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure to build a better, brighter future for everyone who lives in the Southern Tier,” Governor Hochul said. “Communities across the region can revitalize their neighborhoods and create more opportunity for New Yorkers through the funding announced today, and I look forward to seeing the Southern Tier become an even better place to live, work, and visit.”
FY 2025 Budget Investments in the Southern Tier
Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward Investments
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (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. Building on the success of the DRI, NY Forward was created to invigorate and enliven downtowns in New York’s smaller and rural communities. With the Governor’s commitment last year of $100 million each for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward, the State has now invested a combined total of $1 billion in both programs since their inception. The Governor has proposed another $100 million for each program, totaling $200 million, in her FY 2025 Executive Budget. To qualify for these newly added funds, municipalities will need to be certified Pro Housing Communities, furthering the Governor’s support for local partners dedicated to addressing the statewide housing crisis.
$10 Million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Award for Hamlets of Roxbury and Grand Gorge
The hamlets of Roxbury and Grand Gorge, located within the Town of Roxbury, are looking to expand their economy by creating functional spaces and opportunities that will retain current residents through jobs and living accommodations and encourage new residents and visitors by investing in affordable housing, developing businesses in hospitality and tourism as well as improving infrastructure.
The Hamlets of Roxbury and Grand Gorge have been jointly awarded $10 million in state funding and investments to revitalize their downtown neighborhoods and generate new opportunities for long-term growth following the local planning process. They join Johnson City, Endicott, Hornell, Owego, Watkins Glen and Elmira, which were Southern Tier winners in the first six rounds of the DRI.
Roxbury and Grand Gorge will begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with up to $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 will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan will examine local assets and opportunities to identify economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with each community’s vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation. The Strategic Investment Plan will guide the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that will advance the communities’ vision for their downtowns and that can leverage and expand upon the state’s $10 million investment. Plans for the DRI’s seventh round will be complete in 2024.
$4.5 Million NY Forward Awards for Groton and Urbana/Hammondsport
The Village of Groton plans focus on a high quality of life, abundant natural and recreational resources, and its unique history to attract families seeking an active lifestyle. Historic buildings, the Owasco Inlet, and an engaged citizenry are what the community will focus on in its plans to revitalize its downtowns.
Urbana/Hammondsport plans to utilize existing assets to spur private sector investments including better access to the waterfront and public wayfinding to support additional businesses in the downtown area.
Groton and Urbana/Hammondsport have each been awarded $4.5 million in state funding and investments to revitalize their downtown neighborhoods and generate new opportunities for long-term growth following the local planning process. They join Montour Falls and Waverly, which were Southern Tier winners in the first round of NY Forward.
Groton and Urbana/Hammondsport will now begin the process of developing a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize their downtowns. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders and other stakeholders will lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan will examine local assets and opportunities to identify projects that align with each community’s vision and that are poised for implementation. Funding will be awarded for selected projects from the Strategic Investment Plan that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and generate new opportunities for long-term growth.
As part of today’s event, Governor Hochul announced that 14 localities in the Southern Tier, including the Town of Roxbury, Village of Groton, Town of Urbana, and Village of Hammondsport, have launched their applications to become Pro-Housing Communities:
Communities across the region can revitalize their neighborhoods and create more opportunity for New Yorkers through the funding announced today”
New York Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said, “Programs like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward are assisting communities all across the state as they reignite the excitement into their downtowns. Congratulations to Roxbury, Groton and Urbana/Hammondsport. The Department of State encourages you to harness your history, embrace your diversity and utilize these programs to help reinvigorate your downtowns.”
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Hope Knight said, “These targeted, ambitious plans take full advantage of the rich history and promising future of these great Southern Tier communities. The DRI and NY Forward funding awards are designed to catalyze economic development efforts, broadening opportunities that will support residents and draw visitors for years to come.”
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “Today’s transformative investments in Roxbury, Groton, and Urbana will accelerate economic development in these Southern Tier communities by supporting affordable housing, job opportunities and other measures that help each community achieve its unique vision and attract and retain residents. Thank you to Governor Hochul for her continued strategic investments in our State’s towns, villages and cities through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative and NY Forward.”
Southern Tier Regional Economic Development Council Chairwoman and Schuyler County Partnership for Economic Development Executive Director Judy McKinney Cherry said, “I am incredibly pleased to see the collaborative spirit of Roxbury and Grand Gorge. These wonderful communities pulled together to focus on their shared futures to become the latest DRI recipients for the Southern Tier region. Congratulations as well to the Village of Groton and the Towns of Urbana and Hammondsport on their exciting wins. Both the DRI and NY Forward investments will ensure that these beautiful communities can get to work on their focused strategic plans that are aimed at attracting new investment and reenergizing the bright futures for their residents for generations to come.”
State Senator Peter Oberacker said, “I am honored to represent a portion of the Southern Tier including Roxbury and Grand Gorge – and this state investment will further enhance these historic communities along with the entire region. Our local leaders have worked incredibly hard to develop a winning plan that will capitalize on the growing tourism industry while also moving forward with much-needed infrastructure and housing upgrades. Roxbury and Grand Gorge are not new to the DRI process, they have painstakingly fine-tuned their application and their perseverance is finally paying off. New York’s small rural communities are true gems and economic drivers, it is vital that the state recognizes their importance and continues to help them thrive through programs like the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.”
State Senator Lea Webb said, “I am thrilled that the Village of Groton is one of this year’s Southern Tier Region NY Forward winners, receiving $4.5 million in state funding to support plans to revitalize the village’s downtown. Surrounded by rolling hills and valleys, and nestled along Fall Creek, the picturesque village played an important role in the history of manufacturing in the Southern Tier. Groton has produced horse and buggy carriages, iron and steel bridges, and famously was once home to the Smith-Corona plant, earning the title of “typewriter capital of the world.” I am excited to see the Village of Groton put this state funding to use to revitalize its downtown area, support long-term growth, and attract families to settle in this beautiful corner of Tompkins County.”
State Senator Tom O’Mara said, “It’s great news that Hammondsport and Urbana will receive significant state funding through the NY Forward program to revitalize the quality of their communities and to strengthen the local economies that are so vital to the future of Steuben County and our entire region. Building on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative that has been so successful for downtowns throughout the Southern Tier and Finger Lakes regions I represent, the NY Forward program targets smaller, rural towns and villages for these critical, difference-making state investments.”
Assemblymember Anna Kelles said, “I’m thrilled to see the significant investments announced by Governor Hochul into the vibrant Groton community. These funds will not only revitalize downtown Groton but also pave the way for sustainable economic growth, job creation, and enhanced quality of life for all residents; creating a new vision of Groton envisioned by the local planning committee honoring the culture of the community.”
Assemblymember Phil Palmesano said, “This is fantastic news for the Town of Urbana, Village of Hammondsport, and community. They have worked tirelessly, finding ways to move forward with the strategic goals outlined in their 2015 Waterfront Master Plan. Funding from the NY Forward program will give them the ability to see that vision through. The rich cultural history of the area will continue to thrive with this funding, providing additional employment, along with increased tourism and business growth for the whole community and Finger lakes Region. Thank you to Governor Hochul and the Regional Economic Development Council for recognizing the hard work and dedication put for by the local leaders to improve and strengthen the economic vitality of their community.”
Groton Mayor Chris Neville said, “We would like to thank Governor Hochul for providing us with this generous award from NY Forward and the opportunity to share the passion we have for our village and the community’s vision for its future. With the members of our team consisting of the Village, Town, School, Business and Community members in partnership with Governor Hochul’s office and the Southern Tier Regional Council we will be able to build more, grow more, and offer more, and achieve the project goals for our businesses and community.”
Roxbury Town Supervisor Allen Hinkley said, “The ability to support the growth of our two sister Downtowns of Grand Gorge and Roxbury will springboard downtown revitalization that will have tremendous long term economic and community renewal benefits. We are ecstatic to have this opportunity to participate in such an incredible program and thank Governor Hochul for her vision and dedication to our downtowns, especially in rural upstate NY.”
Village of Hammondsport Mayor Jean Jensen said, “The Village of Hammondsport board, employees, and residents have a shared vision for their community. In 2023, the Village of Hammondsport was officially listed as a NY State historic district. Governor Hochul’s NY Forward will enable us to achieve the Village’s strategic goals and fulfill our vision. Proceeds from this award will enhance our efforts to maintain a vibrant and progressive municipality.”
Urbana Town Supervisor K. David Durepo said, “The Town of Urbana, along with the Village of Hammondsport are proud to be the recipients of the NY Forward Grant. This grant will help complete our Waterfront Master Plan that the Community has been working towards. It will increase the attraction of visitors, and livability of our residents.”
About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
The Downtown Revitalization Initiative was created in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of the state to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment. Led by the Department of State with assistance from Empire State Development, Homes and Community Renewal and NYSERDA, the DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative “plan-then-act” strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation and results in compact, walkable downtowns that are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 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.
In the first six years of the program, the state committed $700 million in 69 downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and tat have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation and greater economic and housing diversity and opportunity. Participating communities are nominated by the state’s 10 Regional Economic Development Councils based on the downtown’s potential for transformation. Each community is awarded $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization and leverage additional private and public investments. Information on the DRI is available here.
About the NY Forward Program
NY Forward is a central component of the State’s economic development policy. The program works in concert with the DRI to accelerate and expand the revitalization of smaller and rural downtowns throughout the State so that all communities can benefit from the State’s revitalization efforts, regardless of size, character, needs and challenges. Both programs are creating a critical mass of vibrant downtowns in every region of the State that is enhancing economic development, quality of life and socio-economic diversity.
Once awarded, NY Forward communities are supported by a professional planning consultant and team of State agency experts led by the DOS to develop a Strategic Investment Plan that includes a slate of transformative, complementary and readily implementable projects. NY Forward projects are appropriately scaled to the size of each community; projects may include building renovation and redevelopment, new construction or creation of new or improved public spaces and other projects that enhance specific cultural and historical qualities that define and distinguish the small-town charm that defines these municipalities.
The Strategic Investment Plans and projects are driven by a Local Planning Committee, which conducts extensive community outreach and engagement. The Department of State also provides expansive technical assistance and capacity-building webinars — featuring staff, experts and peers from DRI communities — which are geared toward supporting communities that may have less resources and capacity than larger, more urban communities.
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