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Aurora, Cayuga, & Union Springs Residents Learn More About DRI Process


Aurora, Cayuga, and Union Springs residents got an update on the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) process for their villages Thursday night.

Approximately three dozen people were at the Union Springs Fire Hall to learn about the DRI process, project eligibility and submission, and a rough timeline of how and when the process will move forward.

Aurora Mayor Jim Orman, Cayuga Mayor Don Wilson, Union Springs Mayor Rob Thurston, Cayuga County Legislature Chair Aileen McNabb-Coleman, Planning and Economic Development Director Kari Terwilliger, and Tourism Director Karen Kuhl were all in attendance. Orman told Finger Lakes News Radio that it was exciting to see so much community energy and support.

“It was very gratifying to see so many people at the public meeting for the DRI,” Orman said. The energy level was high and the excitement was very apparent. It was good to see the support from County Legislature Chair Aileen McNabb-Coleman in attendance. This is the response we had hoped for when he the three villages joined together as one entity seeking a common goal.”

Mayor Jim Orman addresses attendees at the 1st 3 Village DRI public meeting. (Ed Vivenzio, Finger Lakes News Radio)

DRI Project Manager Emma Phillips explained that eligible projects can be submitted online by emailing [email protected] or in person at the Union Springs Village Hall until June 28 at noon.  From there, a Local Planning Committee (LPC) will select a slate of projects to form a Strategic Investment Plan (SIP). The SIP will then be sent to the state where officials will choose which projects from the SIP will be selected to receive funding.

Planning and crafting the SIP will take place until December when the SIP is sent to the state. Officials are expected to select the projects receiving funding by Spring 2025. From there commences the implementation phase which is expected to run from 2025-2030.

Attendees listen to a presentation on the 3 Village DRI process. (Ed Vivenzio, Finger Lakes News Radio)

Following Phillips’ presentation and a brief Q&A session, attendees broke into groups. They were asked to create a list of what they liked about their villages, their concerns, and opportunities for improvement. Among the positives cited by residents were Cayuga Lake’s natural beauty and recreation opportunities, small-town charm, and wineries. Concerns included the health of the lake, a lack of affordable housing, and a lack of new businesses.

Mayor Rob Thurston assists as attendees discuss aspects of their villages. (Ed Vivenzio, Finger Lakes News Radio)

An LPC meeting will be held Monday from 4:00-6:00p at the Union Springs Fire Hall. The meeting will also be viewable via Zoom.

To learn more about the DRI process or project submission, visit cayugalakeroute90villages.com.


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