Kimberly Baptiste

Among a panel of DRI-familiar officials, Kimberly Baptiste of Bergmann Associates reports the status of the state-funded program at a YMCA roundtable meeting Wednesday. 

AUBURN — The chances that Auburn will see any Downtown Revitalization Initiative projects completed by the summer are slim. There might not even be a single project started by then, but city officials suggest that making the DRI timeline a lengthy one was purposeful. 

At the February Wednesday Morning Roundtable meeting at the Auburn Hilton Garden Inn, Kimberly Baptiste of Bergmann Associates, the consulting firm hired by the city to facilitate DRI meetings, said projects in other communities in New York are "absolutely moving forward," but they do take time to develop.

In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared Auburn as a central New York DRI recipient of $10 million to boost the city's downtown economy. Almost seven months later, Auburn's Local Planning Committee, which is tasked with suggesting projects worthy of DRI funding to the state, is still working to finalize its list.

Last month, the LPC identified a preliminary "wedding registry" of projects. The total cost of proposed projects was trimmed from $21.7 million to $12.3 million. These projects will be further defined at the next LPC meeting, Tuesday, Feb. 26. 

So, why such a lengthy process?

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Baptiste said that the DRI process is a long one, probably longer than what was anticipated, but there could be some reason behind that.

Pipeline projects that won't make the final list will still be sent to the state in case alternate funding sources are identified, projects are removed from consideration or additional state funding becomes available.

Officials want to push projects that have the highest completion potential, Baptiste said. She added that as far as she knows, of all the DRI projects throughout the state, only a couple have fell through for various reasons.

After the LPC's February meeting, a recap of will be relayed to the community at a public workshop Wednesday, March 6, at the Hilton Garden Inn. 

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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.