Long downtown process starts

Gwen Chamberlain
A conceptual design for Maiden Lane.

The Village of Penn Yan is taking the next step toward plans for three projects awarded funds through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative last summer, but it’s unlikely any work will begin this year. 

The projects are:

• Expanding the village’s parks and trails network with more than $1.13 million. The village had requested $2.9 million, so the scope of work will be reduced, according to Mayor Leigh MacKerchar. A bridge spanning the entrance to the Keuka Outlet between Indian Pines and the east side of the outlet is one of the features that will not be included in the final project.

• Installing streetscape improvements to improve downtown circulation with $1.5 million. This will include work on Water and Wagener Streets and the Wagener Street Parking lot to improve walkability, provide additional on-street parking and historic lighting.

• Enhancing the pedestrian experience of Maiden Lane and Main Street with $393,907. Maiden Lane will be partially closed to vehicles to create a pedestrian promenade that can be used as a social and public space for events. 

After approving the master contract with the state of New York Feb. 19, the village will now issue a formal request for proposals, according to MacKerchar.

That process is expected to take until the end of 2020.

MacKerchar explains the parks and trails project will be adjusted to work within the funding to:

• Enhance Indian Pines Park as a waterfront destination drawing residents and visitors to the lake

• Install trail extensions along the Keuka Outlet Trail to connect downtown Penn Yan to lakefront attractions

• Waterfront seating, public boat docks near downtown businesses, updated playground facilities, interpretive signage, and greater connectivity between the village’s natural and commercial assets. 

MacKerchar says other projects have also received contracts that will allow the properties to move forward with plans.

The other projects that were awarded funds through the process are:

• Sampson Theater: Revive the theater as a Cultural Anchor,  $1 million. The total cost of this project is $3.75 million, which was requested in full.

• Knapp Hotel: Transform the historic hotel into mixed-use gateway, $1.575 million. The total cost of this project is $3.5 million. 

• Struble’s Arcade: Repurpose the Arcade as mixed-use development, $1.485 million. This project’s total cost is $3.3 million. 

• Water Street: Transform a vacant lot into townhomes, $300,000. The total estimated cost is $4.4 million and $1.1 million was requested. 

• Belknap: Rehabilitate the former book store for downtown living and working, $329,000. The total cost is estimated at $1.2 million. 

• Laurentide Inn: Add a brewery and outdoor space, $260,000 for a project totalling $606,463.

• Milly’s Pantry: Install an elevator and implement interior renovations, $521,200.

• 126 Main St.: Convert vacant office space into apartments, $150,000. The total cost is $350,000.

• Birkett Landing: Install amenities and infrastructure to draw commercial activity, $180,000. The total project cost is $500,000.

• Little Elm: Transform an empty storefront at the Microtel into a farm-to-table restaurant and cocktail bar, $200,000. The total project cost is $475,000.

• Building Improvement Fund: Establish a building improvement fund supporting interior and exterior enhancements to buildings within the DRI area to improve downtown aesthetics, $600,000. 

• Village Bakery: Transform underutilized space at 132-138 Water Street for a bakery, $63,000. The total project cost is $150,000.

Other business on the village board’s Feb. 18 agenda included:

• Red Jacket Park: The board approved a project for stabilization of the beach at Red Jacket Park.

• Running Events: The board approved a request to hold a Half Marathon on the Keuka Outlet Trail Sept. 27; the 2nd Annual Race & Walk for Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hospital on April 4; and the 7th Annual Peasantman Triathlon for the weekend of Aug. 13 - 17 with the race to be held Aug. 16.

• Sale of Property: The board authorized the sale by auction of abandoned property at 25 Champlin Avenue.

• DPW Director: The board appointed Thomas Schwartz to the position of Director of Public Works, and authorized the recruitment and hiring of a Deputy Director of Public Works.