Newark, N.Y., has seen explosive growth in the past few years. In order to accommodate its size, the village of 9,000 was recently awarded state and federal funding for several projects such as a new wastewater treatment plant disinfection system, culverts and a downtown revitalization initiative grant.
“Our first big win was when we received a grant for South Main Street. That was in 2016. We had been working on construction for north and south Main Street since 2007, with traffic studies and parking studies,” Village of Newark Mayor Jonathon Taylor said. “We were looking for the financing for that. All of the street, including the north part, was set to be constructed with federal and state financing, and then Hurricane Sandy came along. That took funding from everything. But we continued to be vigilant, keeping things ready for when funding became available again.” The South Main Street project helped Newark to create a gateway to the community.
With that first grant, the village was able to reconstruct the utilities under Main Street – replacing sewer and water lines that were 90 years old and installing new streetlights, sidewalks and curbing and lowering the profile of the road.
“The idea was to make Newark a more walkable community, and a more bikeable community,” Taylor said. According to him, it was after that big win that the village was successful in obtaining more grants, such as funding for the Erie Canal trail.
“Back around 2017 or 2018, the trail was down to literally a foot-wide of stone dust. We paved the trail; it’s now 10 feet wide and accessible to anyone. We put conduit in for lighting and utilized the canal frontage,” Taylor said.
“We really focused a lot on the canal and how important it is to our community because it goes through the heart of the community. We just kept building on that. The positive direction that we were heading in brought in a lot of investors and developers and new businesses. During COVID-19 we saw new businesses start up, even when it was the worst possible time to do so.”
In 2021, the village was awarded a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative Grant. New York State, in collaboration with Empire State Development, NYS Homes and Community Renewal, and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority, takes the lead in the DRI.
“The DRI transforms downtown neighborhoods into vibrant centers that offer a high quality of life and are magnets for redevelopment, business, job creation and economic and housing diversity. These compact, walkable downtowns are a key ingredient to helping New York State rebuild its economy from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as achieving the state’s bold climate goals by promoting the use of public transit and reducing dependence on private vehicles,” the state’s website, ny.org, offered.
The village of Newark offers a unique opportunity for manufacturers that move their business to the industrial park.
“One thing we have that’s unlike any other community is Land for Jobs in our industrial park,” Taylor said.
To attract new businesses, the Land for Jobs Opportunity deeds business with land, free of cost, for the construction of structures for any business purpose in exchange for the creation of a specific number of full-time jobs.
For every acre or portion of an acre requested, one full-time job equivalent must be created anytime during the first two years to qualify. The new jobs must be maintained for the entire third year of the job creation period to be counted towards meeting the stated criteria.
According to Taylor, many manufacturers have relocated to Newark to build larger facilities. Completely new manufacturers have moved into the park as well.
“We really push to be pro-business, and to encourage businesses to come to Newark,” Taylor said. Since 2018, the village has seen a steady increase in construction, with over $36 million in building projects, both residential and commercial. The projects have included completely new construction and rehabilitation of properties.