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Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul made a downtown revitalization announcement in Gloversville.

VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.

AUDIO of the event is available here.

PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.

A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks are available below:

Good morning. Good morning. And first of all, to our Secretary of State, Robert Rodriguez, I want to thank him for picking up where I left off. I didn’t think anybody would try to match the amount of travel I did as Lieutenant Governor, but you’re certainly in competition and I’m glad you’re doing that. That’s exactly what I wanted you to do, to show up in communities like this and let them know they matter. And I’m grateful to your work in their entire department. So, thank you, Robert Rodriguez. I also want to thank the Glove Board President, James Hannahs, for welcoming us here today.

And to all the Board of Directors, the people who love this theatre, it goes back to 1914 when they were running movies and then you’ve had the chance – I know it was shut down for a little while – most of you probably too young to remember that era, but there was a time when these downtowns couldn’t sustain theaters like this. And I lived through that in my hometown. In my hometown, not unlike this, on the other side of the state. But the story was so similar where the great magistrate and the vision of downtowns really lost their luster, particularly when we lost a lot of the manufacturing. And I don’t want to throwback to some dark days, but I lived through them as well.

And so, a lot of these great gems were left unpolished for a long time, and I want to thank some of our leaders here today. Vincent DeSantis, the Mayor of Gloversville, who believed in this theater. Thank you. Thank you for bringing people together years ago and saying, “Yes, we can bring this back to life,” and that is what we’re going to continue to do here today, Mayor DeSantis. Also, we have our great Mayor from Little Falls, Mark Blask has joined us.

To those who wonder why I always make sure I’m surrounded by my local government officials, I spent 14 years in local government, so I have an appreciation and I take that to Albany with me. Which is why in the short time I’ve been Governor, made sure that this whole idea of Albany knows best top-down approach is basically obliterated. That we start with the bottom up, where the people who have the real pulse in their communities are. So, I thank all of you for the local work you do in Little Falls and Gloversville.

We also have our Senator, Peter Oberacker is here. I want to thank him and congratulate him on his new tenure here. I don’t think he’s going to represent part of this district, but he’s going to have a new expansive area, but I think his heart will always be in Little Falls as well. Also, Robert Smullen, our Assemblymember, who picks up little Falls and represents Gloversville, and what a privilege that certainly is. To our Assemblymember and our Senators, let’s give them around to applause.

Renee Scialdo Shevat is here as well. I want to thank her. Do you want to stand up, Renee, for all the great work you do at the Mohawk Valley REDC. I know her most as the owner of the – one of the most extraordinary tourism places and a place of education and learning and family gatherings, that is the Herkimer Diamond Mines. And I’ve probably been there more than any other place I’ve been to, and I love this place. And so, thank you for going through some challenging times, but always rising up from the ashes. And I thank you for your friendship here as well.

So here we are. This is great because I’m an Upstater. A little knowledge of this whole region from having lived up here and vacationed up here. I used to always come here and go up to the gate, go through Old Forge, the gateway, the Adirondack as part of our family vacations. Came through many of these communities, and so these communities mattered to me personally and it’s part of the commitment of a DRI. You know, the fact that we are investing over $10 million, not share between these two communities, but each community to receive what when I was in local government, if someone had come to my small town and said, “Here’s a plan. Community members envision your future and here’s $10 million to do it,” I would’ve fallen off a chair because nobody – Albany never did that for us back then.

Which is why as Governor, I’m really continuing to ramp this program up and make sure more communities know how to apply for it. Bring together all the stakeholders, not just the elected leaders, but the people they convene. The people care so much about their communities and that’s what I love about being able to be Governor of such a fascinating place, and to go to places which really represent the quintessential upstate charm. That’s my branding of what we have in both these communities because there’s nothing like it. The unique architecture, the downtowns, it’s always about the libraries too. I spent so much time in a little tiny library in my hometown, mostly escaping a lot of very loud siblings. So, I read a lot of books when I was a child. Big Irish-Catholic family, it was never any room for us. So, I always used to go over the libraries and so I know how libraries matter. And in the library we have here in Gloversville, I remember going through it when it just needed some love probably back in 2015 or so. And I think when you invest in theatres, you invest in libraries, you’re investing in bringing out the grandeur of the past, but you’re also saying we’re on a path to the future so our children’s children will be able to enjoy the same quality of life that many have enjoyed here as well.

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So, it’s about reimagining a whole new future and the people I just acknowledged are part of that. This theatre, you know, is part of a community that also had a global reputation. I mean, Gloversville – gloves. It’s amazing to know that, you know, from 1850 or so to 1950, I’m sorry, 1890 to 1950, 90 percent of all the gloves sold the United States were made here. I mean, that’s almost mind boggling to think about. The number of people got up every day and went to their jobs, creating something that people wore all over our country. And that was a time when people wore gloves more than just on a cold winter day. I mean, this was part of a fashion statement. Everybody wanted to wear very elegant gloves. And I had a chance to tour the Sunderland Leather Company a few years back and was so proud that back in, I think it was 2018 for the Olympics, you know, they were designing the gloves worn during the opening ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics.

So, there’s a story that’s not just rooted in the past, these are current stories. These are current points of pride that I want passed on for the generations to come. And that’s why we keep investing in communities like this. And also, you know, Little Falls, I mean, I think it’s known as the second smallest city in New York State. Is that, is that accurate? Okay? Number two? Okay. When you’renumber two, you try harder or so something? Okay, okay, okay. No, I mean, that’s also just a statement of it matters. I mean, this is part of its identity, and I really believe a community like Little Falls punches above its weight, you know, for having, you know, a smaller community, population wise, you know, you still have that charm, and that character and that personality that is the envy of places around the country.

If you travel around many parts of the country – go to the South, you go out West – I mean, they were not built at the time our communities were built. We’re the ones who own that. The architecture, the history that the East Coast is known for, particularly here in New York State and places like Gloversville and Little Falls still drip with that heritage and that charm.

And so, I’ve been to this state region so many times. I love going up to the hardware store in Old Forge many times, walks up there, all of a sudden you see things, “I didn’t know I needed that.” So, all of a sudden, I’ve got a whole basket full of things I didn’t know I needed. And you know, again, as I mentioned, going to the diamond mines of the Adirondacks. There are so many great things. But as I mentioned, we did experience, and those who might be older than very young would remember that there was an era of industrial decline. When there was global competition, when we lost the textile, the manufacturing. They went overseas or they went down South. And it was a hard hit. I, I grew up in a steel town and we lost the steel plant to foreign competition. All of a sudden, overnight, 20,000 jobs where my dad and grandpa and everybody worked were gone and you didn’t have the state stepping in and saying, here’s money to help reimagine your next phase. You just wallowed in decline. And it was depressing.

And I mentioned that big Irish-Catholic family, I’m the only one left in the State of New York because they all had to leave to find jobs. They all wanted to stay, and not one of them could find a job back in the late seventies and eighties. And it’s a tragedy. So, I’m seared in the knowledge of what can happen when the jobs are not there, and what communities can look like when the jobs are there.

And that’s why I was so proud to come to this region and announce the magnificent Wolf Speed Project. You know, over $500 million investment from the state to help Wolf Speed, you know, create over 600 jobs in this area. That was last year. And then all of a sudden, we have an opportunity with Micron. Now you may not think, what does Micron have to do with me here in Gloversville or Little Falls? I cannot tell you the supply chain opportunities that are going to arise from a company that is going to hire 50,000 people – 9,000 direct, 50,000 indirect – because there’s going to be businesses in smaller communities and outlying areas that are created by the young talent that don’t have to go to a different place. They don’t have to go to bigger cities to find those opportunities if we’re smart and use this as an opportunity to supercharge the whole upstate economy.

And I will tell you, when I talked to the leaders of Micron who were really dead set on going to Texas, they had their foot out the door. They were just looking at us to be polite, I think. I got them in a room, and I started talking. I said, “Have you experienced Erie Canal communities? Have you been to the Finger Lakes? Have you been up to the Adirondacks? Do you know about what we have up in the St. Lawrence Seaway, the Thousand Islands? Do you know how beautiful this area is? Do you know how affordable these smaller communities are? Do you know the quality of life, the quality of education, our health care?”

All of a sudden, they started thinking about not necessarily what makes sense for a company, but what makes sense for their employees. How will they attract the people from around the country and perhaps the globe to want to come to a place? And when you start thinking about these unique assets that we have, this is how you can bring the jobs here. They’ll bring more workers. So, maybe you’ll grow even bigger than the second smallest. You might be larger. What I want you to know is I see an opportunity here that is brand new. Nobody else has had to think about what that means for the small towns that dot Upstate New York when you have the opportunity for a company to bring thousands and thousands of jobs. So, I think we just seize this as well. And what we’re doing here is polishing up and sprucing up our downtowns and giving them the charm. When this theatre is completed, it’s going to be extraordinary, and I better start mentioning the projects. I’m going to get carried away. This theatre, they didn’t want to tip the hat. This theatre is one of them.

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So, I think I better get down of business here. I could just go on and on. So, my love of this region, and I know all of you feel the same way, and that is why, you know, having two communities here be able to be announced. First, Gloversville we are announcing today, you knew about the money coming, but then which of the projects are selected? And because we want to do everything, but let’s take the first 12. And the first award will be $1,900,994 to renovate the historic Glove Theatre. It’s almost $2 million of investment in this place.

Surprise, surprise. You know, again, this theatre is a downtown anchor. We spruce it up, you continue, you know, all the great work that’s being done here, and James and others have more plans. I know you have your movie night on Wednesdays, and you have some live theatre and congregate here, but this is going to be magnificent. And so, this is going to bring more people downtown and those who live here already, just say, why not? Why shouldn’t this be spectacular? So, it’s also about, you know, it’s about creating a sense of place and a place people gather for entertainment. It’s part of a quality of life, but also these awards are intended to enhance connectivity.

What does that mean? We are going to be developing the St. Thomas Square for year-round activities. I think it’s $1,020,000 for more public gatherings, a more recreational use, especially kid’s activities, any kids we’re representing. So, look there. St. Thomas Square looks great. Also, streetscapes. My gosh, my hometown was so run down. The curbs were just worn down. And it just like you drove through, you just wanted to hang your head like, oh my gosh, there’s no, you know, nice streetscapes or signs or little park benches and little plants. And when you do all those, it says that there’s pride in this community, that this community matters, and that’s why we’re going to allocate $441,000 to improve the streetscapes and connect downtown with the regional trails as well. Let’s make it more walkable, walkable communities. And a downtown piazza. Piazza, that’s a fancy word. Yeah. $435,000 to transform a vacant lot into a space for concerts and outdoor movies at an urban park. I think that’s going to be magnificent as well. So, let’s get that started.

We’re going to be enhancing public amenities at the Trail Station Park – $495,000 for that project. That’s going to be another great magnet for the people who want to just be enjoying the outdoors. That’s going to be fabulous. So, we also – we talk about connecting people, we talk about creating entertainment venues, but also places people can afford to live, so we’re going to be investing in more affordable housing and supportive and senior housing so those who grew up here can live in the same community where their children are now raising their kids. So, we’re going to be redeveloping and renovating historic buildings and old mills into mixed use housing, and I love to see this. I love to see this because you’re also, you’re sprucing up the exterior for a community to experience, but also, you’re making it a home for someone. A place that had just been walked past for many, many years and no one believed that there could actually be such life inside, so now it’s just going to be homes for people. So, I’m real excited about that.

So, let’s start with the historic carriage house, 1.3 million dollars, to focus on that. And I have a belief, maybe because I’m Irish, but I believe that every vibrant downtown needs to have a brewery or microbrewery. It’s just how it goes. So, we’re going to have a full-service microbrewery in a restaurant, seven studio housing units, and event space, right in that space. I think it’s going to be magnificent. So that’s very, very exciting.

Let’s construct the Glove City Lofts – $1.2 million for new housing on vacant lots near City Hall. That’ll be 75 loft style houses for mixed income tenants. The Daniel Hayes Mill – over a million dollars to redevelop this space, over 20 apartment lofts and green space for recreational use. So those are some of the main projects we’ll be talking about. We also want to make sure that the downtown business who hung on through some tough times, especially during the pandemic, that we help them improve and have the resources they need. A lot of it, again, this has happened in my hometown, the exterior of the facades declined. I mean, no one was maintaining them. The sides look run down and just like, you know, you’d have little deli across the street like my mother’s little flower shop. My mom started a flower shop in the middle of a recession. That’s my mother. And it was tough, and I’d sit there and wait for that little bell to ring and some customer came in and it took a long time for that bell to ring, so I knew those were tough times a couple decades ago.

There was a little delicatessen across the street, and they used to have a handwritten, scribbled on piece of paper, sign slapped in the window, you know, “Six pack of Genny Cream Ale, Two Bucks” so we kind of want to say, “Can you just maybe up the game a little bit here?” Because what one neighbor does affects the others as well. You want to have this sense of, “We have our act together.”

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So, the Downtown Business Improvement Fund – over $600,000 – will help them achieve that. I think that’s really important, so let’s make sure we take advantage of that. Transforming the former garage building into the headquarters for Glove City Brewing, 559 or $359,000, $359,000 yes. That’s going to be charming. I love the way that looks. We’ll renovate Schine Memorial Hall – $346,000. That’s going to be great. Revive the former City Hall for $250,000.

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So, Gloversville, I think that’s enough to get started with here today. Congratulations to you, congratulations to the residents in Gloversville. This is amazing. And we’ll talk about Little Falls in a second, but these are just the resources behind the projects. And the fun part is when we come back for the ribbon cutting, so I look forward to returning many, many times right here, so congratulations to the community.

Little Falls, Little Falls. Now let’s announce the awards for Little Falls. As I mentioned, our focus is creating communities and reestablishing communities as great places to work, to live, to play, and part of it is a place for our seniors to live as well, so we’ll be allocating $2.5 million, creating affordable senior housing at the M&T building – renovating that and adding new building components as well. Again, allowing people to stay in the community that they grew up in themselves, so $2.5 million for that senior housing project as well. That’ll have 75 units. It’ll create commercial space as well as health and wellness facilities.

And also, we want to improve the library. $500,000 to improve access for the library – love our libraries. And access to the waterfront. Again, we are going to be really putting more of a focus on the reimagined canals and the milestones coming, the reopening, of the anniversary of the canals. There’s so much planned, and to be able to be positioned right there, we’re going to be having over $640,000 allocated to help expand public access to the waterfront and to the canal. I think that’s going to be amazing. And there’s coordinated marketing along the length of the Erie Canal. Again, from the determinants of the Erie Canal, from Buffalo, I look out my window and I see the replica of the original Canal side.

So, we want to make sure that tourism, people visit the entire length of it, and we want to make sure of every part of it, so I know a lot of work’s been done. We have even more plans there as well. We also want to modernize the downtown quarters, make sure that they are the center of business and commerce and entertainment. So, we’ll be enhancing the connectivity of Seeley Street and expand recreational opportunities. $1.8 million, transforming Sealy Street into a bicycle and pedestrian waterfront walkway. And that’s going to be fabulous. Also modernizing, replacing the iconic Little Falls Canopy. Let’s make that spruced up, $1.6 million. The entire length of Main Street, that’s going to be beautiful. Again, the streetscapes, I love the streets. Park benches, nice wayfinding signs and, just fixing up, having pots of plants hanging. I love all that. Going to be having the Main Street Streetscape spruced up, with $1.6 million, including creating bike lanes, and repaving the corridor. Again, you have to have the curbs in the street looking nice and spruced up, that signals to passers through as well as the resident, that it’s the community that matters. So, $1.6 million for that.

And for our small businesses, let’s help them out again as well and make sure that we have, money to help them, do what they choose to do to spruce up, and over $600,000 to help fund the small business development. So, make sure we get the word out to all of them. This is charming. And to help families who want to, who live here now who want to come here, that we tell them we also believe in our children and taking care of them. And so, we’ll be investing over $390,000 to increase high quality childcare in communities right here as well. So, that’s what we’re going to be doing, investing in our families and our downtowns, our waterways, our seniors, and so, it’s all coming together.

So, I just want to thank all of you. This was not our ideas. We didn’t sit there in Albany and say, “Let’s imagine the future of Gloversville and Little Falls.” No, I thank those of you who put in countless hours, and I’ve been on those committees, I’ve been in those rooms, and you sit there late into the night and say, “What can we do? What, what is the legacy that we will leave for our children?” So, they know that back in 2022, 2023, there were people, elected leaders, community leaders, businesspeople who all came together and said, “We care, and we’re going to continue investing our time and our talents and our passion for these two spectacular communities.” And generations from now, they’ll be grateful that you are in this room on this day and went forth to execute the extraordinary vision that you all formulated. And I’m grateful as the Governor of the State of New York, I’m grateful to have people like all of you who love your community so deeply. So, this is the future, this is the spirit that we’re going to continue embracing. It’s a whole new era, and let’s lean hard into the future. Congratulations to Gloversville and to Little Falls. Thank you.

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