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Residents Learn Proposed DRI Projects for Aurora, Cayuga, Union Springs


Residents of Aurora, Cayuga, and Union Springs got a look Thursday night at the proposed projects for the villages’ upcoming joint Downtown Revitalization Initiative and individual NY Forward grant applications.

Roughly three dozen people attended the public information session at Union Spring Junior High School Auditorium. Those in attendance approved of the proposals and village officials are optimistic they’ll be awarded the funds come early next year.

“We deserve it,” Cayuga Mayor Don Wilson Jr told those in attendance.

There are 40 projects seeking funding through NY Forward with an additional four included in the DRI application; those include a marketing and branding campaign, high-speed fiber optic broadband, electric vehicle charging stations, and a community investment fund. Other projects, such as building renovations, park improvements, and new sidewalks, seek to make each village an exceptional place for both tourists and residents.

When it comes to DRI and NY Forward Grants, Cayuga County is considered part of the Central New York region. This means the villages are competing against municipalities in Cortland, Madison, Onondaga, and Oswego Counties.

Regardless of whether or not the trio is selected for the DRI award or any of the villages receive NY Forward funding, Union Springs Mayor Robert Thurston Jr said this experience has showcased a joint sense of community among the three villages, all situated on the eastern shore of Cayuga Lake. Speaking before those gathered at the meeting, he said, “I think our villages are working closer than ever before… the collaborations between the villages are there.”

This sentiment was echoed by Aurora Mayor Jim Orman, who said at the meeting, “We’re neighbors, so we work together.” He later added, “We’re not looking for a handout; we just want a hand.”

Winners are expected to be announced in January or February of 2024.

More information about the applications, a look at each village’s proposed projects, and a comment section can be found on cayugalakeroute90villages.com.

Comments on the proposals can be made through September 25. That can be done either by going to the aforementioned website’s comments tab or  by contacting the following county planners:

Residents view proposed NY Forward and DRI projects. (Photo by Ed Vivenzio, Finger Lakes News Radio.)
Residents view proposed NY Forward and DRI projects. (Photo by Ed Vivenzio, Finger Lakes News Radio.)
L-R: Union Springs Mayor Robert Thurston Jr, Cayuga County Associate Planner Kari Terwilliger, Planner Evan Tuthill, Senior Planner David Nelson, Aurora Mayor Jim Orman, & Cayuga Mayor Don Wilson Jr. (Courtesy of Maureen Riester, CEDA)
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