State and local officials announced the completion of the $3.5 million West Main Street extension, a transformative streetscape project in historic downtown Lancaster that received $2.5 million from the Smart Growth Community Fund. The project created a pedestrian-friendly extension of West Main Street and is part an effort to restore a swath of the village's Central Business District that was devastated by fire more than 60 years ago.
The project extended West Main Street to Aurora Street and converted it to accommodate two-way traffic, sidewalks, on-street parking, light poles, landscape amenities such as planters and benches, and pedestrian crossings. In addition, the project relocated and upgraded utility lines, added easy-to-read street signage to guide visitors, and created a new mini roundabout at the new intersection of West Main Street and Aurora Street.
The project is part of a larger $8.5 million restoration that includes Cayuga Creek Park and two roundabouts.
The goal of the extension is to reimage the village's Central Business District as a vibrant, mixed-use destination that offers a 'shop, stroll, stay' experience for both residents and visitors. The completion of work has created a collective momentum among the village's business owners, the Community Development Corporation, the Beautification Committee, the Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce, and passionate residents alike to build on the existing, thriving business district in the heart of the Lancaster community. Senator Gallivan helped secure funding for the project.
"The restoration of the historic downtown business district brings renewed energy and new economic opportunity to the village of Lancaster," Senator Gallivan said. "New York State's investment in improving the design of the West Main Street area will further enhance the quality of life for residents, businesses, and visitors. I congratulate all of the community leaders that helped make this day possible."
The area of the West Main Street extension was devastated by a fire more than 60 years ago and the village has struggled to revitalize this swath of its business district ever since. In 2018, Lancaster was awarded up to $2.5 million through the Smart Growth Community Fund -part of the Governor's Buffalo Billion initiative -to advance planned community and economic development.
"A healthy downtown is vital to transforming communities into great destinations to work, play and raise a family," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. "The West Main Street Extension is reshaping the village of Lancaster's downtown for the better and will help generate economic activity by increasing pedestrian access and opening up new opportunities for development. This is another example of Western New York's comeback story building the infrastructure for a better, stronger and smarter tomorrow."
The ten-acre area selected for revitalization includes historic buildings and a traditional walkable downtown surrounded by residential neighborhoods. Focused on an area that includes a growing arts and cultural hub, the award has already helped to attract new businesses and private development, including a development with six lower-level retail spaces and 18 second-floor apartments.
Western New York applicants to the statewide Downtown Revitalization Initiative in 2017 and 2018 that were not selected for awards were deemed eligible for grants through the Smart Growth Community Fund, a $20 million initiative to fund ready projects in municipalities. These projects include reviving traditional main streets, preserving historic buildings, fostering mixed-use private investment, encouraging walkability, and increasing access to waterfronts and green space.
Funding has been awarded to eight Western New York communities, each receiving up to $2.5 million. These awards were recommended and approved by the Western New York Regional Economic Development Council, with the selected projects needing to be shovel-ready and completed within one to two years.