November 20, 2019
#PerryProgress, by the Numbers
We learned last week that Perry was *not* selected as the Finger Lakes Region’s recipient of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), and the $10 million of funding to support private and public project development that accompanies it.
However, we *were* one of six finalists in our nine-county region. And because of that, a small contingent of Perry representatives put together a 30-minute “pitch” to the Regional Economic Development Council and DRI selection committee in Rochester.
We told the story of Perry’s ongoing revitalization efforts, highlighting the people, the organizations, the events, the developers and the entrepreneurs. With a history of successful revitalization, signature events, deep investment, and strong management, with Letchworth in our backyard and a list of interested developers and significant projects, we made our case.
Perry’s revitalization strategies and successes have resulted in regional recognition before: We received the Director’s Award from the Rochester Community Design Center’s Reshaping Rochester Awards; a Grand Honor Award from the Rochester AIA’s Design Awards; and most recently the Barber Conable Award for 5 initiatives in Perry tied to historic buildings, from the Landmark Society of Western NY.
We also pulled together some metrics to give measure to the #PerryProgress.
Here are some of those metrics:
$55 million invested. The total amount invested in Perry in the past 10 years - public, private, infrastructure, amenities.
30 grants managed, totaling $8 million. We’ve applied for many more, secured and leveraged significant funding from the state, and successfully managed these programs, all on behalf of village interests.
42% increase in village’s capital assets. That’s from $9 to over $13 million when auditors added up the change in value of all the infrastructure in the past 5 years.
27% rise in village’s total property valuation in 10 years. Due in large part to a combination of investments large and small, along with increased demand.
5% decrease in village tax rate over 10 years. For comparison, that’s during a timeframe when other county villages have needed to increase their rates by 4%, 18%, 32% and 52%.
0 Fiscal Stress. Zero is the optimal fiscal stress score that the state’s independent audit can award a community. Perry is one of only 10 villages in the 60-village Finger Lakes Region to achieve it. This measure takes into account fund balance, operating deficits, cash position, and overall debt service.
80 residential units added in 10 years. My informal scorecard shows at least this many: new homes, vacant upper floors downtown and, of course, the Knitting Mill Apartments. This does not include local developers who have been renovating some of our existing rental units throughout the village.
204 improved properties. Meanwhile, that’s how many properties have been brought into compliance due to our property maintenance outreach efforts in just the last 5 years.
28 new businesses, 28 rehabbed buildings and 105 new workers added downtown since 2005. Overall, the village has added 445 new jobs over that period, thanks to our large employers and our many small businesses.
#1 in permits issued. Those new and expanding businesses, the downtown renovation and all the residential improvements are the reason the Village has been first in permits issued in Wyoming County for the last 5 years.
9% increase in median home sale price. Meanwhile, the inventory of homes for sale has dropped 22%. Demand creates scarcity, and scarcity drives value.
80% “good” or “like new” sidewalks. This number is up from 60% just five years ago for our 17 miles of sidewalks, the result of coordinated municipal, RG&E and individual property owners efforts. Work continues.
While we’re on the subject of infrastructure, here are some on-going efforts:
Storm drainage. Every 2-3 years we are replacing a neighborhood’s aging storm sewers to avoid flooding, property damage, and infiltration into our sanitary sewer which can overwhelm our treatment plant’s capacity.
Streets. We are tackling our village streets in a methodical manner, with increased paving progress in the past 3 years. This year we completed the village park loop as well. Even with these efforts, we hear people’s concerns on street conditions and are exploring ways to speed that important work up even more.
Sanitary Sewer. 2020 will see construction commence on phase 2 of our $10 million Wastewater Treatment Plant upgrade, vital to handling increased flows and increasing capacity for future development.
Village Beach. A $750,000 investment - pavilion, restrooms, a sandy beach and play area. Construction is underway and on track for completion by summer 2020!
Silver Lake Trail. Design team is hired to develop the plans over the next year for $1.25 million of improvements to be implemented in 2021, connecting the Village Beach to downtown on public property.
GROWING REGIONAL PARTNERSHIPS
We have strengthened our reputation as a regional recreation destination, and built partnerships not only within Wyoming County but with Geneseo and Mount Morris in Livingston County - our neighbors to the east - through the Letchworth Gateway Villages (LGV) Initiative we launched 3 years ago. Why? Because we believe Perry is an extraordinary *place* with regional significance. For awhile we have been the edge of the Finger Lakes region; the edge of the Niagara Frontier region. We’re even at the edge of Wyoming County. Are we linked with Rochester? Buffalo? But, now, thanks to America’s #1 State Park and efforts by LGV, we are working to rebuild the identity of the Genesee Valley as a valued recreation destination. For a flavor, check out ExploreGeneseeValley.com. That’s a regional identity in which Perry is at the epicenter. We have invitations out to our neighboring towns and villages to join this geo-tourism initiative. It is an opportunity to build on our strengths, to help underpin our existing businesses and to attract businesses, residents, and visitors.
JUMPSTARTING THE VIRTUOUS CYCLE
All of this takes us back to the goal of sustaining a virtuous cycle of investment. Such investment in improved conditions (infrastructure, appearance and amenities) fortifies our community’s image, resulting in improved market demand, which in turn grows our tax base and thus our village’s fiscal capacity to continue to invest while keeping taxes lower. That is a recipe for long-term success - and we are nothing if not in it for the long haul. We will continue to move forward, and are already making plans to pursue a possible DRI in 2020.
Until then, best wishes for a peaceful Holiday season!
Your Village Board welcomes your input and seeks your involvement. You can always contact me at via email, or come find me Saturdays 11-noon - starting December 7th - at the Biblio-Tech Cafe for “Coffee Hour With the Mayor”.
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