Richfield to receive $4.5 million NY Forward grant

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Feb. 12—Richfield has been awarded a $4.5 million NY Forward grant to revitalize its downtown neighborhood and generate new opportunities for long-term growth, as guided by a local planning process.

Gov. Kathy Hochul's office announced Monday that Richfield and Boonville, a village in Oneida County, are the Mohawk Valley Region winners of the second round of the NY Forward program, slated to receive $4.5 million each.

Richfield and Boonville join Cooperstown, Sharon Springs and Dolgeville, which were Mohawk Valley winners in the first round of NY Forward last year.

Richfield Springs, a village in the town of Richfield, "is a small community with an outsized passion for the revitalization of its Main Street," according to the governor's news release.

"Richfield's NY Forward award will build on prior public and prior investments that have set the process of revitalization in motion," the news release stated.

Projects and goals identified in its application focus on streetscape improvements, adaptive re-use of existing buildings, increased walkability and bikeability, increased sustainability and decreased greenhouse gas emissions, support for small business growth in the downtown area and increased awareness of, and appreciation for, its diverse cultural backgrounds.

The next step for Richfield is to begin the process of developing a strategic investment plan through a local planning committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders and other stakeholders to lead the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners.

The plan examines local assets and opportunities to identify projects that align with each community's vision and that are poised for implementation. Funding will be awarded for selected projects from the plan that have the greatest potential to jumpstart revitalization and generate new opportunities for long-term growth.

Village of Richfield Springs Mayor Richard Spencer said in a statement that the village and the town have collaborated on several joint initiatives during the past decade "to strengthen our community and bring prosperity to our residents."

"This award will [en]able us to take giant steps forward to establish Richfield Springs as the northern anchor of Otsego County and a major gateway to the Mohawk Valley," Spencer said.

Richfield Town Supervisor Larry Frigault said in a statement that the community hopes to enact a number of beneficial projects in the areas of housing, economic development and recreation.

"Each of these projects will help improve the quality of life in Richfield," he said.

State elected officials also praised the award.

"Our local leaders developed a winning plan that exhibited a compelling vision for economic development, community growth, and sustainability," state Sen. Peter Oberacker, R-Schenevus, said in a statement. "New York's small rural communities are true gems and economic drivers, it is vital that the state recognizes their importance and continues to help them thrive through programs like NY Forward."

Assembly Member Brian Miller, R-New Hartford, said in a statement that Richfield and Boonville's awards "reflect a shared vision for pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, and small business growth."

"These investments mark not just dollars, but the promise of revitalization, growth and a brighter future for our changing communities," he said.