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Rome wins $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award

Rome Capitol Theatre Facebook
Rome Capitol Theatre

The city of Rome will receive $10 million from the state for new downtown economic development projects. The city was one of the winners of the second round of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. 

Cuomo announced Rome’s prize like an award ceremony.

“I’m going to open the envelope and find out, because they don’t tell me what the actual answer is," Cuomo said. "Congratulations Rome, you have won first place, which is $10 million.”

The governor said there were more than 100 applicants for the contest and only ten first place winners. Rome Mayor Jackie Izzo said the money could be spent on a number of options including improvements to its Capitol Theatre.

"We need a coffee shop, we need an after hours or dessert type venue to service this theater," Izzo said. "There are so many events here at the theater, no one has anywhere to go when those movies end. I think the possibilities here now are endless because we have the money to get all these things off the ground."

Other ideas include the demolition of a parking garage for a new apartment complex and a mini Rockefeller Center with an ice skating rink.

“Part of the DRI competition this year was the ability to get projects off the ground quickly," Izzo said. "We are in a good position, because all of these are plans we’ve had in the hopper as part of last year’s competition. What will it look like? I think a year from now it will look different. Certainly two years from now it will look very different.”   

Izzo said she is hoping this will get more workers to live in the city. Cuomo said they started the initiative because new businesses want a high quality of life in local downtown areas to attract and retain young people.

Tom Magnarelli is a reporter covering the central New York and Syracuse area. He joined WRVO as a freelance reporter in 2012 while a student at Syracuse University and was hired full time in 2015. He has reported extensively on politics, education, arts and culture and other issues around central New York.