MASSENA, N.Y. (WWTI) — Massena is set to receive $10 million in funding as one of the North Country region winners of the fifth round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Massena is working on a transformation into a greener and more connected community. The village’s goal is to make the downtown area more walkable and functional. With a 19.6% poverty rate, Massena has worked hard in their efforts for revitalization. Public and private investments of about $20 million have been brought to the downtown area within the past ten years.

Part of the village’s goal is to create arts and culture spaces, increase mixed-use space, support workforce and new business development and better utilize space along the water. Massena joins Plattsburgh, Watertown, Saranac Lake and Potsdam as recipients of the DRI funding, which were the North Country Region’s winners in the first four DRI rounds.

“We are so excited that Massena has been selected as a winner of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative,” Massena Mayor Greg Paquin said. “With this $10 million investment, we will be able to transform our quaint downtown into a more vibrant, walkable community that will benefit our residents and visitors. We are grateful to Governor Hochul for this award, and I look forward to working with the many stakeholders in our village to develop a list of projects to revitalize Massena.” 

Massena will now begin the process of developing a strategic investment plan. A local planning committee of municipal representatives, community leaders and stakeholders will lead the effort. They will be supported by private sector experts and state planners. The plan will examine local assets and opportunities, along with identifying economic development, transportation, housing and community projects that align with Massena’s vision for revitalization.

“This is a tremendous day and an incredible win for Massena,” Assemblymember Mark Walczyk said. “Officials have already made significant strides to improve downtown. Now, this DRI award compliments the hard work done thus far and will continue to help downtown Massena grow and prosper for years to come. Massena won today.”

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative launched in 2016 to accelerate and expand the revitalization of downtowns and neighborhoods in all ten regions of New York State.

In the first four years of the program, the state committed $400 million to invest in downtowns. The fifth round of the DRI will have an additional $200 million commitment. 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 at least $10 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan.