Plus, Judges Reviewing NGI Business Concept Proposals
Plus, Judges Reviewing NGI Business Concept Proposals
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Oswego County Economic Development News

May 19, 2021
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Governor Cuomo Announces Fulton DRI Awards

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced a list of transformational projects for the city of Fulton as part of their $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative awards.
Fulton was named a Round 4 winner in August 2019. Fulton's award will leverage the city's historic downtown waterfront and the economic drivers found in Fulton's health, service, and manufacturing industries and its innovative entrepreneurs to enhance the city's natural and cultural attractions. These investments will enhance amenities along the waterfront, support small businesses, reactivate commercial and industrial properties, and enhance public trails and healthcare offerings. This will create an improved quality of life, new downtown living, retail, restaurants, entertainment, and job opportunities. 
Projects funded through the initiative will:
  • Expand Oswego Health's Essential Services - $2,000,000: Bring additional medical services to downtown Fulton through the expansion of Oswego Health's Fulton campus. 
  • Revitalize a Vacant Building on the Former Nestle site - $1,500,000: Renovate and re-purpose an abandoned building on the old Nestle site into a mixed-use development. Proposed uses include 55 to 65 residential units, office space, restaurant and a Nestle museum. 
  • Develop a New Manufacturing Start-up Facility on the Former Nestle Site - $860,000: Build a new facility on the former Nestle site to attract and expand advanced start-up manufacturing businesses. 
  • Create a Business Assistance Fund to Provide Resources and Financial Support to Encourage Downtown Revitalization - $750,000: Establish a grant fund to help local businesses with building upgrades, permanent equipment purchases, and technical assistance.
  • Strengthen Infrastructure of Building & Machinery at Major Manufacturing Facility - $420,000: Undertake facility and infrastructure upgrades at the Huhtamaki manufacturing campus to maintain jobs, enhance streetscapes, and improve pedestrian safety.  
  • Raise the Roof on Arts and Entertainment in the Heart of Downtown Fulton - $352,000: Make improvements to the CNY Community Arts Center by leveling the roof over the south side of the building to match the existing Mezzanine roof level, creating new usable space for expanded activities, and completing on-site sewer repair work.  
  • Create a Downtown Vibe Through Multi-Site Improvements - $185,000:  Undertake renovation and expansion activities at six commercial locations in the center of Fulton's downtown: Canalview Mall, Cayuga St Café, Dizzy Block Brewing, Empire Drone Company, Fulton Family Medicine Renovations, and Tavern on the Lock Expansion.
  • Restore and Transform an Abandoned Historic Building into an Inn and Café - $140,000:Transform a historic vacant building located at 181 S. 1st Street into Kings Road Inn, a 4-to-6 room inn with cafe and coffee lounge.
  • Provide Fast Casual Food Choices in Downtown Fulton - $137,000:   Undertake  interior and exterior renovations of a vacant building to create a counter service restaurant with a globally influenced menu. The site will include an outdoor patio and drive-thru pick up window.  
  • Redevelop a Commercial Building in the 481 Gateway Corridor - $112,000:  Rehabilitation of a strip mall visible from the gateway for new and existing tenants. New tenants to include barber shop and beauty supply store.  
  • Enhance the Beauty and Functionality of Fulton's Waterfront for Residents and Visitors - $1,713,000: Modernize and enhance the waterfront area and Canal Landing Marina to create a premium destination and attraction for boaters, visitor and residents, while establishing a strong connection to the core downtown area.  
  • Construct Multi-Use Walking Trails within the DRI Boundary - $820,000:  Complete construction of the Pathfinder Canal Towpath Trail on the east side of the Oswego River, install decorative uplighting on the Broadway and Oneida Street Bridges, and add new fencing to the Oneida Bridge. 
  • Update and Energize the Library to Improve Accessibility and Create a Cultural Destination for Residents and Visitors - $311,000:  Undertake improvements to the historic Fulton Public Library to create new outdoor public spaces and improve safety.  Work will include rehabilitation of two emergency staircases, rehabilitation of two chimneys, and construction of two outdoor meeting areas with a connection to the trail system.  
  • Upgrade Internet Services in the City of Fulton - $200,000: Provide reliable high-speed internet for local businesses and residents through installation of fiber optics and Wi-Fi infrastructure.  
  • Implement a Community-Supported Downtown and Historic Marker and Signage Program - $100,000: Promote downtown Fulton attractions including, but not limited to, the historic district, Pathfinder, Towpath and Canalview trails, and CNY Arts Center. 
  • Update the City's Zoning Code to Allow for Infill Mixed-Use Development Along South 1st Street - $100,000: Update the City's zoning code and design guidelines for the DRI area, and specifically along South 1st Street, to support and attract new development that is consistent with the vision for the downtown.
Fulton has also developed a strategic investment plan to revitalize their downtown areas with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million award. Local planning committees made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The strategic investment plans examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.

Judges Reviewing Business Concept Proposals for 2021 Next Great Idea Oswego County Business Plan Competition

The first phase deadline has passed and this year’s panel of judges are now reviewing 24 business concept proposals submitted to the 2021 Next Great Idea (NGI) Oswego County Business Plan Competition, according to Austin Wheelock, Deputy Director for Operation Oswego County and Chair of NGI.
“The Next Great Idea is the result of business and community leaders joining together to launch a competition that encourages entrepreneurs to commit to new business development in Oswego County and offer cash and other prizes totaling $90,000 to help make several entrepreneurs dreams come true,” Wheelock said.
Judges for this year’s competition are Ed Alberts, owner of Riverwalk Oswego and a former winner of NGI; Mike Backus of Oswego Health; Rich Burritt of Burritt Motors; Allen Chase of Chase Enterprises; Nate Emmons, County Legislator; Karen Goetz of the Richard S. Shineman Foundation; Keiko Kimura of Cayuga Community College’s Fulton Campus; Kevin LaMontagne of Operation Oswego County; Liz Lonergan of the Watertown Small Business Development Center; and Tim McKernan of EJ USA. Judges were selected based on their local business knowledge and expertise in the fields of operations, management, financing, and entrepreneurship.
The deadline to submit business concept proposals for the first phase of the 2021 NGI Competition was April 30, 2021.  The entire competition consists of three phases. The next phase will require semi-finalists, selected from phase one, to develop full business plans. In the third phase, finalists will make their “pitch” in person to the panel of judges. This year, the judges will be tasked with selecting three winners. The overall winner will receive $50,000 towards implementing their business plan. The second and third place winners will receive prizes valuing $25,000 and $15,000, in cash and in-kind services, respectively. All participants will receive written feedback from the panel of judges on how to improve their business proposal through each phase of the competition.
“We’ve designed the NGI program in a way to benefit all the participants
involved, not just the ultimate winner of the competition,” Austin Wheelock, Deputy Director of Operation Oswego County and NGI Chairperson, said. “If we have several finalist prize winners come out of this, plus many other bankable, feasible business plans with confident entrepreneurs then everyone wins, especially Oswego County.”
In addition, the prizes can potentially be leveraged to borrow up to $500,000 through our partnerships with local banks, the Oswego County Industrial Development Agency, the cities of Oswego and Fulton community development offices, and the U.S. Small Business Administration.           
“The NGI partnership believes that Oswego County offers a wealth of resources and opportunities for businesses to start and flourish here. We are all extremely excited to see the great ideas the competition participants generate turn into viable business opportunities,” Wheelock said.
The competition web site,, includes an overview of the event, a competition timeline, application guidelines, sponsors, and contact information.
44 West Bridge Street | Oswego, NY 13126 US
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