By Wagner Dotto
The hottest place in Central New York right now? No doubt, it’s downtown Oswego.
The number of projects taking place in the city is extraordinary — in nearly 30 years living in the area, I don’t recall seeing so many projects happening at the same time.
Folks at the economic development office in Oswego say people won’t recognize downtown in a year or two. I tend to agree with the assessment.
Some of the development is the result of a $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative grant secured by the state in 2016. The money is gradually being applied to a number of projects that will increase, among other things, commercial space, housing and entertainment venues. Private investment is also playing a significant role.
Associate Editor Lou Sorendo interviewed Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow and writes a succinct report on all the projects happening in Oswego. The story is on page 82.
In addition to discussing downtown Oswego, this Progress Issue focuses on major developments happening throughout Central New York. There is a great deal going on on many fronts — tourism, manufacturing, education, healthcare and in other sectors.
It’s hard not to feel optimistic about the region after going through all the stories in this issue of Oswego County Business, CNY’s only business magazine.
I’d also like to refer readers to the story written by Aaron Gifford on page 56. He interviewed Gary Keith, regional economist for M&T Bank, shortly after Keith delivered a presentation in January on the state of the region’s economy at CenterState CEO’s Annual Economic Forecast Breakfast.
Keith is optimistic about the region and shared some data showing how Central New York is doing better than it did in the past. One example is the region’s gross domestic product. It increased 1.5 percent from 2017 to the end of 2018, compared to .50 percent in the previous year.
But Keith puts that growth into a larger perspective. Yes, CNY is growing, he said, but other Upstate New York cities — Western New York, Rochester area and the Capital District —are experiencing much faster growth. On top of that, we need to keep in mind, as Keith pointed out, that Upstate overall lags behind other regions across the country.
In other words, things are looking up but there is a lot more work to do to catch up.