(June 22, 2021) New York State Homes and Community Renewal today announced the completion of an $11.6 million affordable and supportive housing development in the village of Watkins Glen in Schuyler County. Glen Lake Apartments offers 34 affordable apartments including six supportive homes reserved for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. A 7,300-square-foot childcare center on the ground floor is leased by My Place: A Play and Learning Center, which provides educational opportunities for children under age five. The project supports the economic development efforts underway in Watkins Glen as part of the village's selection as a winner of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative for the Southern Tier.
"A healthy downtown is vital to transforming communities into great destinations to work, play and raise a family,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “With the completion of Glen Lake Apartments, we are helping to further enhance the quality of life in downtown Watkins Glen by providing safe, quality and affordable housing, while also improving access to much-needed childcare for working parents.”
HCR Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, “The nearly $12 million investment in Glen Lake Apartments lays the foundation for future growth and development in Watkins Glen by delivering 34 affordable apartments and a much-needed new childcare center for the benefit of hardworking families. By offering supportive services, individuals with disabilities will be able to achieve independence and live with the dignity they deserve in the community they love. The Governor’s DRI is enhancing quality of life, energizing local economies, and expanding quality housing opportunities in communities across the state.”
Today's announcement is part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo's unprecedented $20 billion, five-year Housing and Homelessness Plan. The plan makes housing accessible and combats homelessness by building or preserving more than 100,000 affordable homes and 6,000 with supportive services. Since 2011, HCR has invested more than $233 million in the Southern Tier that has created or preserved nearly 2,600 affordable homes.
Glen Lake Apartments was constructed on a vacant site located at 207 and 209 East Second Street in Watkins Glen. Amenities include a common laundry facility, a community room, and office space for building management and the service provider. The development is one block from downtown and close to restaurants, parks, the waterfront and grocery stores. The childcare center features classrooms, meeting and program space for families, a kitchen for meals, offices for staff and a dedicated playground.
All apartments are affordable to households earning at or below 70 percent of the Area Median Income The project is a partnership between INHS and the Watkins Glen Housing Authority. On-site support services are provided through The Arc of Chemung-Schuyler.
State financing for Glen Lake Apartments includes federal and state Low-Income Housing Tax Credits that generated $7.5 million in equity and $2.6 million in subsidy from HCR, $824,000 in capital funds from the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities. Glen Lake Apartments also was supported by a $500,000 award from the Governor’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative administered by HCR.
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "We applaud Governor Cuomo's vision to bring more affordable housing developments to revitalize communities and grow the economy across the state. Projects like the Glen Lake Apartments, which are supported through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, will reinvigorate Watkins Glen and help brighten the economic future of the region."
OPWDD Commissioner Theodore Kastner, MD, MS, said, “We are excited to be a partner in the Glen Lakes project, along with Governor Cuomo, our fellow state agencies and our providers and families. This project increases the opportunities for safe, affordable community housing for the people we support and opening the door to community living for people with developmental disabilities not only benefits the people we support, but the communities they live in.”
Chairman of the Schuyler County Board of Legislators Carl H. Blowers said, “We are thrilled to welcome INHS to Schuyler County and greatly value the partnership, collaborative spirit and vision that this project represents. Additionally, New York State’s continued support through the investment in the transformation of our community has been critical to allowing us to leverage public funding for maximum return. INHS has helped us to address critical housing needs and has already become an integral partner as we look to further meet these needs. I offer my congratulations and look forward to future collaborations.”
INHS Executive Director Johanna Anderson said, "INHS strives to develop housing that is part of a larger community vision. Glen Lake Apartments provides access to affordable housing, jobs, education opportunities, and redeveloped an underutilized site - all within walking distance to downtown and the waterfront in the Village. INHS is honored to be part of this community development initiative that has added 34 new units of affordable housing and a childcare facility to downtown Watkins Glen. This project would not have been possible without the Governor’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, New York State Homes and Community Renewal financing and the support of the Village and County."
Watkins Glen was named a DRI Round 2 winner in 2017 and the community identified the need for additional permanent affordable housing in downtown and expanded opportunities for childcare services. The area selected for revitalization in the village of Watkins Glen is comprised of the walkable, compact traditional downtown as well as surrounding residential and commercial neighborhoods. There are more than 150 businesses as well as a number of residential properties and cultural institutions within the two-square mile area. Benefitting from local amenities that include the Seneca Lake waterfront, parks, wine trails, a growing art scene, and the internationally-recognized Watkins Glen International, downtown Watkins Glen is ripe for investment.
The downtown Watkins Glen Strategic Investment Plan is guiding the investment of DRI grant funds in revitalization projects that advance the community's vision for its downtown and that can leverage and expand upon the state's $10 million investment. DRI projects will build upon other recent investments in the downtown and surrounding area, including Watkins Glen International and Watkins Glen State Park, to create a sustainable environment for a year-round innovative and prosperous economy.
About the Downtown Revitalization Initiative
In 2016, Governor Cuomo launched a major new initiative—the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Through the DRI, the Governor moved to aggressively accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhood to serve as centers of activity and catalysts for investment in all 10 regions of the state. The DRI represents an unprecedented and innovative plan-to-act strategy that couples strategic planning with immediate implementation.
In the first four years of the DRI, the State has committed $400 million to invest in downtowns that are ripe for revitalization and have the potential to become magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, 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, and 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. The DRI is chaired by New York Secretary of State Rossana Rosado. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and HCR.
For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to: www.ny.gov/programs/downtown-revitalization-initiative.
Accelerating Southern Tier Soaring
Today's announcement complements “Southern Tier Soaring,” the region’s comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $7.4 billion in the region since 2012 to lay for groundwork for the plan – attracting a talented workforce, growing business and driving innovation. Now, the region is accelerating Southern Tier Soaring with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State’s $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion – and the region’s plan, as submitted, projects up to 10,200 new jobs. More information is available here.