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The Lake George DRI:

Community Update, February 2024


The Lake George Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) Committee is focused on creating as many high-impact community improvements as possible with the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant awarded by the State of New York.  The DRI and New York Forward programs are the cornerstones of New York State Economic Development programs. Since 2016, more than $800 million has been awarded to 93 communities across the state.


To prepare an application for the DRI funding, the Lake George Committee met for 18 months to encourage, solicit, and discuss ideas drawn from the community itself. Private investment in DRI projects is crucial and a requirement for the proper integration of public and private dollars into the investment efforts. Moreover, each project must be within the boundaries of the DRI, must be vetted by the soon-to-be-formed Local Planning Committee (LPC), and must ultimately be approved by the state.


The Committee, once formed, is going to be starting the preparation of a Strategic Investment Plan in the spring. One of the top priorities of the Town and Village (as well as the current Hochul Administration) is to create more housing for working people and young families. The Town and Village are especially focused on catalyzing the development of housing to serve international students and adults who visit the United States on the J-1 and H2B visa programs and are employed by many Lake George hospitality businesses, as this category of users has been identified as having the largest need (and greatest economic output) by the Town/Village Workforce Housing Study completed by Camoin Associates.  While a few businesses have purchased and renovated older motels and other buildings to house their employees, additional housing is needed to accommodate the seasonal workforce who fills jobs during the summer and increasingly at other times of the year.


The DRI committee envisions a public-private partnership for the creation of housing for anywhere from 100 to 500 people, which could be spread out over several sites if needed. Some public funding could possibly be used to catalyze the development of the housing in order to attain revenue to pay off any potential debt (through paid parking, for example) but the housing project itself would be owned and managed privately which will allow the property of any development to remain on the tax rolls. While a preferred site location has already been identified, a comprehensive site selection process is being conducted to identify other potential or more appropriate sites for one or more housing projects within the designated DRI area. If sites cannot be located within the DRI boundaries, but there are potential sites that are proximate, the Committee may seek an adjustment in the DRI Boundary by NYS.  A competitive process will likely be conducted to choose a preferred private developer(s) for any such project, and considerable public participation will be part of the potential project effort.


In addition to housing, the ideas proposed for DRI funding are diverse and include recognition of the area’s role in our nation’s history through heritage tourism projects, as well as focusing on future enhancements to arts, culture and recreation. The DRI committee also included road infrastructure improvements including new signage and construction of the long-planned South Canada Streetscape enhancements; an elevated park and pier extension in the portion of Shepard Park Beach off limits to swimming; a center for craft brewing and distilling; a broadband transmission upgrade that will put an end to disruptions during peak tourist season; the reinterment of human remains from the time of the American Revolution along with commemorative memorials in the Battlefield State Park; a public art program that would include a series of murals and canoe sculptures, and a downtown improvement fund that would finance improvements to private business facades and building envelopes.


It is expected that the State and the LPC will take about 9 months to identify the final projects that fit the DRI parameters and are within the $10 million appropriation to develop the Strategic Investment Plan, and a final project slate will be identified around the holidays at the end of 2024. The DRI Committee will continue to provide public information updates over the course of the next year, and several public participation opportunities which will occur in the summer will be widely publicized.

Thank you for getting involved!

We are happy to announce that Lake George Forward: Transforming Downtown for Tomorrow was selected as the Capital Region winning application of the seventh round of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative.


The Town and Village of Lake George are preparing joint applications for both the NYS Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) and NY Forward programs and we want to hear from you!


The Steering Committee has identified a series of projects will  that transform downtown Lake George into a vibrant center that offers a high quality of life and will serve as a magnet for redevelopment, business, job creation, and economic and housing diversity. 

Drop by the Lake George Town Hall on Monday, September 11th anytime between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm to provide feedback on the proposed projects.  

Can’t join in person?

Check back to take part in a virtual Community Survey that will be held between September 11th -17th

LG Sept 11 In person Event Flyer panoramic 2.png

The Downtown Lake George Revitalization Team is preparing applications to the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) and NY Forward programs.

Where is the Lake George DRI/NY Forward district boundary?


What is the vision for the district?

"Through investment into the downtown area from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), the Town & Village of Lake George and its partners will continue to promote and improve quality of life and sense of place through revitalization. By enhancing and expanding the downtown character to create a more vibrant community, creating accommodations for a growing population and focusing on the “visitor experience” of the tourism sector, we will preserve and improve upon the integrity of its historical, cultural, recreational and environmental resources while leveraging them as economic drivers. To strengthen the year-round economy for future generations, our communities support initiatives that create an inclusive and diverse workforce and sustainable environment."


What is the New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) program?

The Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) is a New York State program designed to foster the transformation of urban centers with significant potential for redevelopment, business, job creation, greater economic and housing diversity, and opportunity. The intention is to provide funding that can help communities on the cusp of economic revitalization tip over into sustained prosperity. Communities are selected annually by their respective Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) through a competitive application process. Previous winners for the Capital Region are the City of Glens Falls, City of Hudson, City of Albany, City of Schenectady, Village of Tannersville, and City of Cohoes.

New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), a cornerstone of the State’s economic development program, transforms downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers that offer a high quality of life and are magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation, economic and housing diversity. These compact, walkable downtowns are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to achieving the State’s bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles.

In 2022, the program invested $200 million in up to 20 additional downtowns statewide. Participating communities were nominated by the state’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) based on the downtown’s potential for transformation. Tentatively for 2023, within each region, the REDC will nominate either two downtowns to receive $10 million each or one downtown to receive an award of $20 million to develop a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization.

The DRI is led by the NYS Department of State. Communities receive support from private sector experts and a team of state agency staff led by the Department of State in close partnership with Empire State Development, and NYS Homes and Community Renewal. 

What is the NY Forward Program?

In 2022, Governor Hochul introduced the NY Forward grant program designed to invigorate downtowns in New York’s smaller and rural communities—such as villages, hamlets and other small, neighborhood-scale municipal centers. NY Forward (NYF) is intended to build on the success of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) by adopting the same "Plan-then-Act" strategy.

Each of the State’s ten Regional Economic Development Councils (REDCs) had the option of nominating two communities for a $4.5 million NYF award or one for a $4.5 million award plus two for a $2.25 million award following a competitive application process. The selected communities will develop a Strategic Investment Plan that includes a vision for the downtown and a catalogue of proposed transformative projects, based on community outreach and input. That plan forms the foundation for immediate and ongoing project implementation.

The Village and Town of Lake George plan to submit an application to the 2023 round of the NY Forward Program. As a first step in the NY Forward process, the Village and Town will be soliciting input from the public in order to gauge interest and collect ideas for proposed projects to include in the application. These should be capital projects, within the NYF Boundary that will help catalyze downtown revitalization, and be ready for implementation within two years with an infusion of NYF funds. 


© The Lake George DRI/NY Forward website was prepared by Elan Planning and Design (a NYS Certified WBE).

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