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New York funding indoor water park, new housing in Oswego downtown makeover

Payne Horning
At the Oswego Children's Museum, Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul joined Oswego officials to unveil which projects the state will fund as part of the $10 million campaign to transform the city's downtown.

New York state has announced what projects it will fund as part of the $10 million prize Oswego won last year in the state's Downtown Revitalization Competition.

In all, 12 of the 23 projects Oswego submitted for approval will be funded with the state grant. That includes money to renovate storefront facades, sidewalks, the Oswego Children's Museum and add green space to the area, including a mini park.

But the majority of the money will be used to renovate historic buildings, like the Cahill and Buckhout-Jones buildings, and vacant spaces downtown for the creation of housing and retail space.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says the projects the state is awarding will complement the city's waterfront development efforts.

"We wanted to connect the marina to our downtown and to hear that those projects, specifically, were designated for funding, I think, accomplishes the comprehensive vision we had to fill in the vacant land in downtown," Barlow said. 

Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, who was in Oswego Thursday to announce the awards, says those connections were key when the state committee decided which projects deserved the funding.

"It shows that you're being strategic, being thoughtful, thinking long-range about capitalizing on what you have," Hochul said. 

Hochul says this investment will not only improve life for Oswegonians, but also has the potential to make the city a destination place with projects like an indoor water park.

"To have a water park -- that is going to really put this community on the map," Hochul said. "It will draw people from outside the area, bring a new infusion of dollars for the economy, whether it's the restaurants, whether it's the little shops we have here."

Private investment will be needed to complete these projects. City officials hope they can attract $50-$60 million toward that end.

Oswego beat out Fulton and Auburn in central New York to win the $10 million. Both cities plan on applying for this year's funding, as does Watertown. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.