Smart Growth Community Fund

Dunkirk, North Tonawanda, Gowanda and Lackawanna

About the Smart Growth Community Fund

The $20 million Smart Growth Community Fund Buffalo Billion II initiative has been awarded to eight Western New York communities.  The communities will receive up to $2.5 million each in funding to support projects that utilize existing infrastructure to support placemaking, walkable communities and sustainable development. 

Funding awards were recommended and approved by the WNYREDC. Projects selected within each community are shovel-ready and can be completed within one to two years.  

About the 2017 Recipients

City of Dunkirk

Smart Growth Projects include:

  • Improvements to the pier and waterfront trails.
  • Funding for the Central Connections Community Connector to create opportunities for rebranding and improving signage between downtown Dunkirk, SUNY Fredonia, and the Village of Fredonia.

City of North Tonawanda

Smart Growth Projects include:

  • Funding for improvements at Gateway Harbor.
  • Streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.
  • Pocket park improvements.
  • Signage and visual improvements at downtown entry points.
  • Pedestrian improvements at four crossings located on River Road.
  • Green infrastructure improvements to Main Street.
  • Funding to support the renovation of the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier.

City of Lackawanna

Smart Growth Projects include:

  • Central Business District intersection, streetscape and pedestrian enhancements.
  • Design and construction of enhancements to the park adjacent to Memorial Field and the public library.
  • Support for a development on a vacant parcel of land across from Memorial Field.

Village of Gowanda

Smart Growth Projects include:

  • Improve waterfront access to increase recreation and tourism at Zoar Valley Gateway Park, Creekside Park and Aldrich Street.
  • Funding to support the completion of the internal restoration of the Hollywood Theater.
About the 2018 Recipients

Village of Alfred

Projects include a mixture of historic restoration, business and innovation investments, placemaking, and smart growth, and could include:

  • A New York Main Streets program that would target terra cotta roof preservation, including incentives for incorporating additional terra cotta elements into building upgrades and improving ADA accessibility for Main Street buildings;
  • Providing funding that would create an “Advanced Ceramic Manufacturing Center” in the Village; and
  • Pedestrian improvements along Route 244 that would improve the safety and aesthetic appearance of the main corridor that connects with Town and Village. 

Village of Fredonia

Projects would enhance the Village’s historic downtown and help to create a strong sense of place for its residents, college students, and visitors, and could include:

  • Streetscape improvements along Water and Temple Streets surrounding Barker Commons that would improve safety, attractiveness, and connectivity to downtown; and
  • 1891 Opera House Improvements that would help to complete interior and exterior projects and promote the Opera House as a regional and cultural attraction.

Village of Lancaster

Projects would facilitate a new village center development, and could include:

  • Restoration of the historic street grid, extending West Main Street through to Pleasant Avenue, including relocation of necessary infrastructure; and
  • Creation of a new pedestrian-friendly and walkable extension of the village downtown, facilitating new opportunities for mixed-use development and an ADA-compliant thoroughfare.

City of Tonawanda

Projects are focused on improving connections with its waterfronts and enhancing recreation opportunities for its residents and visitors, and could include:

  • Design and implementation of the City’s plan for an expanded greenspace and connection with Ellicott Creek and the Erie Canal along the now-closed portion of Young Street; andConstruction of additional waterfront trails, a pavilion, and other recreational amenities. 
Embracing Growth and Downtown Redevelopment

The Western New York Regional Economic Development Council is embracing growth and downtown redevelopment as core economic goals in its Strategy for Prosperity. Businesses are increasingly locating in or near vibrant, walkable downtowns built on the principles of smart growth – places where the millennial workforce chooses to live, work, and raise a family. Investments in existing downtowns also have been found to reduce local infrastructure and municipal service costs, thus helping to ease fiscal difficulties.