AUBURN – A federally funded cultural and historic sites program in Auburn is progressing.
At a Thursday night meeting, the Auburn City Council approved a resolution authorizing a subrecipient agreement for a historic and cultural sites program under the American Rescue Plan Act relief bill.
Thanks to this bill, municipalities across the country will receive assistance following the economic and additional challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Auburn is expected to get a total of $21,395,055 in two installments. The city received the first allocation, at $10,697,527.50, in May 2021.
In August, the board approved approximately $3.84 million in budget transfers from relief money in support of various programs, including $250,000 to support a historic and cultural sites program. Thursday’s resolution for the subrecipient agreement, available on the city’s website, said the program is intended to “help Auburn’s downtown business improvement district which has been affected negatively as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency”.
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As part of this program, the resolution notes, $50,000 has been allocated for a multi-media marketing campaign called the “Visit Auburn Initiative” and $50,000 has been allocated to support Tubman’s 2022 Bicentennial celebration honoring of Harriet Tubman, an iconic abolitionist and former Auburn resident.
“City staff recommends that the Downtown Auburn Business Improvement District, in partnership with the NYS Equal Rights Heritage Center of Auburn, NY, administer the aforementioned marketing and local events as part of the historical and cultural program for an amount not to exceed $100,000,” the resolution continues.
Councilor Jimmy Giannettino said the bi-monthly meeting of the Historic and Cultural Sites Committee was held last week and added that most sites said they had “somewhat of a rebound year” in 2021 but that they are still down due to the pandemic.
Giannettino said the venues are “grateful and grateful for this investment in the tourism market for Auburn, and they feel it will help them move forward and get back to pre-COVID attendance levels. Just wanted to relay that sentiment to everyone. construction sites.”
The board also passed a resolution Thursday accepting various subrecipient agreements for the Auburn Downtown Revitalization Initiative Capital Program. At that same August meeting, the board authorized a resolution designating $1.25 million in ARPA funds for a DRI capital program. Thursday’s resolution regarding those various deals, posted on the city’s website, said $250,000 each would go to five local nonprofits. The organizations, each of which had projects selected as part of the state’s $10 million DRI initiative to improve Auburn’s downtown development, are the Auburn Public Theater, the Museum of Cayuga History and Art Center, the Schweinfurth Memorial Art Center, the Seward House Museum and Community Preservation Committee, Inc., which preserves the Willard Memorial Chapel.
Auburn City Clerk Chuck Mason said ahead of Thursday’s meeting that the entities were getting funding from ARPA because the money given to them through their DRI grants would not cover the remaining costs of their projects. He added that he believes the Schweinfurth and Cayuga museums are planning additional fundraising, as the additional $250,000 is not expected to cover the full cost of their respective projects.
“It’s just exciting to see all of these projects take the next step,” he said.
• A public hearing for the 2022-23 Community Development Block Grant Annual Action Plan is scheduled for next week.
Council accepted a resolution to hold a public hearing on the action plan at 5 p.m. on Thursday, January 27. The city has secured block funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for decades.
• Council also approved a $977,900 change order related to the design of the town’s biosolids dryer and wastewater treatment plant upgrade project. The initiative was accepted as part of a capital improvement project in February 2020.
On Thursday, the board approved a change order to Brown and Caldwell’s engineering contract to provide 100% of the design for the project, at a cost of around $977,000. The company has already contracted with the city to manage 90% of the design of the project.
The change order resolution stated that Brown and Caldwell’s duties would include “project and design management to include overall management of design efforts, including project schedule, budget and task assignment. “. The company should also manage additional design services for the replacement of the electrical input gear, the rehabilitation of the final settling tank and the replacement of the sludge pump and meters. »
The final cost of the project is currently estimated at approximately $58 million. In an update on the project at a meeting last week, Auburn Municipal Utilities Manager Seth Jensen told council that the change order resolution would be brought before them.
Ahead of the vote on the change order resolution, Councilor Timothy Locastro said he was concerned about the rising costs of the project, totaling the final cost currently estimated at around $58 million, adding that he was not “comfortable with this, I will win”. I don’t support it,” though he said he credits Jensen for his efforts. Along with other elements of the project added over time, Jensen said there are other issues such as inflation. Locastro was the only one who did not vote for the resolution to change the order, and it passed.
Managing Editor Kelly Rocheleau can be reached at (315) 282-2243 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @KellyRocheleau.