July 28, 2021
Picente Unveils Oneida County Main Street Program
County Executive Anthony J. Picente Jr. today unveiled Oneida County’s Main Street Program to provide support to local municipal downtown development projects, assist in the safe and efficient redesign of main streets and promote investment and business growth.
“We stand ready to partner with local communities to improve main streets and support downtown development projects across Oneida County,” Picente said. “Revitalizing our main streets will not just make them safer and more accessible, but will bring customers back, create jobs and foster private investment. Together, we can create the collective impact that not only moves us past the pandemic, but thrusts us into a better and more sustainable future.”
First revealed in Picente’s State of the County Address earlier this year, the Oneida County Main Street Program was developed to provide county-level support to local municipalities’ downtown development projects and to assist in the redesign of local main streets to be equitably and safely accessible for visitors of all ages and abilities utilizing all modes of travel.
The Main Street Program aims to improve safety, provide better access to local businesses, allow people to move safely on foot, accommodate bicyclists, support climate smart investments, provide a sense of place and enhance communities.
There is no singular design format for a main street project. Projects in rural hamlets, villages, townships and small cities will look different from those found in the larger cities. It is essential that each community responds to the unique needs of its people as they design a main street project, as well as consider how their project reflects the theme and values already present in their community.
The Oneida County Planning Department will work with cities, towns and villages to rethink and rebrand their main streets including complete street designs, parking, streetscapes, façade programs, public space design and entrance way development. The program will have two phases: planning assistance and capital project funding.
A $500,000 fund for planning assistance, with a 50-50 match between the municipalities and the county will be available to develop unique main street programs in participating communities. Once the main street planning is completed, the projects included within will be funded through a $5 million fund that will be capitalized over two years.
The county has already received interest from multiple municipalities, including the City of Sherrill, which plans to utilize the program to help fund new pedestrian-accessibility enhancements along the State Route 5 corridor between Sherrill Road and Betsinger Road.
“I am happy that County Executive Picente has developed this program to aid communities like Sherrill to develop their main streets and downtowns,” said Sherrill Mayor William Vineall. “Without the county’s assistance we would not be able to bring our enhancement project to fruition, and I look forward to partnering in this endeavor which will greatly benefit our residents.”
The application process for the Main Street Program is neither competitive nor a determination of eligibility. All municipalities within Oneida County are eligible and will receive funding and/or technical assistance, contingent on the availability of funding, after the application has been reviewed by the Planning Department.
Participation in the program requires the incorporation of several pre-identified street design components that are sourced from case studies and national organizations that specialize in
complete street development and tactical placemaking. These principles represent the best practices for developing accessible places and infrastructure that support local businesses and promote traffic safety. Oneida County encourages all municipalities to present their vision and thoughts on what they want their project to look like to best fit the community’s needs.
“Main streets and downtowns are the lifeblood of our communities and are the key to strengthening our economies and recovering from the fallout of the pandemic,” said Verona Town Supervisor Scott Musacchio. “I applaud County Executive Picente’s vision to help our towns, villages and cities revitalize these areas and I am anxious to seize upon this opportunity for the Town of Verona.”
The Oneida County Department of Planning has an Application and Information Packet and Program Guidebook available on the county website. The Department of Planning can also be reached for more information at 315-798-5710.
“The County Executive has created a program that will reinvent and revitalize the heart of every community: their main street,” said Oneida County Commissioner of Planning James Genovese. “The Planning Department will work hand in glove to assist local communities in creating a dynamic main street experience for their residents and business owners. Successful main streets should look to include safe street designs, facilitate pedestrian traffic, create active public spaces and emphasize connectivity allowing for more commerce and economic development.”