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Cortland Agencies Collaborate on Tracking DRI Progress

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Three Cortland County agencies are collaborating with city leaders on a comprehensive plan to help inform the public about the progress of the Main Street reconstruction project.

That list includes the Cortland Business Development Council/Industrial Development agency (BDC/IDA), the Chamber of Commerce and the Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB).

Each is now gathering resources to underwrite a comprehensive marketing and communications strategy, which is expected to launch later this year and include a web site, social media and other strategies to keep stakeholders informed.

The Main Street reconstruction project is part of a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) grant awarded by the state in the Fall of 2017.


“The work being planned is exciting but we have to remember that businesses are going to be sensitive to how that work impacts them during construction,” said BDC executive director Garry VanGorder. “It’s absolutely critical that they have good and timely information as this moves forward. There are no grant dollars available to help with communications on this, but the Chamber and the CVB agree with us that it’s too important to ignore.”

Construction is expected to break ground next year on a complete overhaul of the downtown area from Tompkins Street to Groton Avenue, where a number of transformative projects are planned over the coming years – a handful of which have already been completed.


Over the past year, a new business incubator opened its doors at a refurbished building at 42 Main Street, where both the BDC and CVB have also moved their primary office locations.

Additionally, a number of state-of-the-art upgrades took place at McNeil Insurance & Development’s downtown Cortland campus.

“Not only do we want to keep all stakeholders informed but we want the community to adopt this as our venture so we can all get behind the work being done and be supportive of the transformation of Main Street,” said Chamber of Commerce President Bob Haight.


Along with major improvements to infrastructure work underneath the street, those above-ground can eventually expect to see a highly anticipated change back to a two-way traffic pattern, as well as new sidewalks, crosswalks, landscaping, and lighting.

Officials have also been hard at work with the required planning, engineering, designing and permitting dimensions of the process.

CVB Executive Director Meghan Lawton said, “informing the public about the upcoming changes to downtown Cortland, and reassuring them that Main Street, and its businesses, will remain open during this period of construction is critical.”

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