Downtown Revitalization Initiative

Auburn Local Planning Committee members cast their "DRI bucks" to what they believe are the most prioritized DRI projects at its December meeting. Later that night, the public had the opportunity to do the same exercise. 

AUBURN — The Auburn community will get another opportunity to learn about the city's Downtown Revitalization Initiative project proposals at an open house Tuesday. Ideas on improving the downtown area will be welcomed. 

In a workshop format, attendees will work in small groups to discuss and identify prioritized DRI projects. The third public open house will be held at the Booker T. Washington Community Center at 23 Chapman Ave. from 5 to 6:30 p.m. Pizza, refreshments and child-friendly activities will be provided. 

According to a DRI project schedule, the month of January will be spent confirming the project list and drafting project proposals, while the final DRI Strategic Investment Plan is expected to be produced by March.   

At its most recent meeting in December, the Auburn Local Planning Committee, which is tasked with determining which projects will receive DRI funding, reviewed a total of 29 project proposals. Collectively, these projects are requesting a total of $21.7 million, however, the LPC only has $10 million to work with. 

Dia Carabajal, Auburn city councilor and member of the LPC, said that as of Monday, no new projects have been proposed since the December meeting.  

An overwhelming majority (24) of the proposals are requesting funds for new development, rehabilitation or site improvements. The rest are proposing branding and marketing work or public improvement. Additionally, an establishment of a $600,000 grant fund is being proposed for the implementation of smaller scale projects. 

In December, members of the LPC spent $10 million "DRI bucks" on projects that they believe are the most prioritized to mimic allocating real-life DRI funds. Later at a separate meeting, the public participated in the same exercise. Tallied results are expected to be announced soon. 

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Staff writer Dan Orzechowski can be reached at (315) 282-2239 or dan.orzechowski@lee.net. Follow him on Twitter @OrzechowskiDan.