In celebration of the Erie Canal’s two hundred year-anniversary, SUNY Oswego held an Erie Canal Bi-centennial Downtown Revitalization Forum on September 27th.
“The goal of the form series is to of course celebrate the Bi-Centennial of the two-hundred years of our canal system, but also to talk about the economic significance and importance of our canal system today in communities all across Upstate New York,” said Brain Stratton, New York State Canal director and Oswego alumnus.
Ten cities situated along the canal system in Upstate New York received a $10 million-dollar grant to help revitalize their downtowns and Oswego was one of the recipients. SUNY Oswego president Deborah Stanley supports the city’s downtown renewal goals. “We’re a very connected and anchored institution to the prosperity and development of the initiative, so our DRI in Oswego is very important to us,” Stanley said.
Oswego is looking for economic gains from the cities planned improvements. William Barlow, Oswego City mayor said he is hoping the improvements will bring more families to Oswego; “Again, we’re trying to convince younger professionals and millennials that Oswego is a good place to invest, it’s a good place to raise a family, it’s a good place to work and live, Barlow said.
Receiving a $10 million grant to revitalize downtown Oswego is a big accomplishment. Area business owner Lorie O’Brien spoke concerning the revitalization initiative and how she feels about its long-term outcome.
“There’s been some things written about different ways they’re going to use the money that just doesn’t seem like a great investment to me. It seems kind of like, it may not pan out. But hey, you never know,” O’Brien said.
Some of the projects are now underway in Oswego while others are on hold until next year. There may be mixed feelings concerning the outcomes, but excitement still fills the air in Oswego.