ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – Construction on the City of Elmira’s Clemens Square improvements, in the heart of downtown Elmira, will begin Monday, June 29.

Improvements to the plaza will include new paving, overhead ‘string lighting’, benches, bike racks, an elevated seating / multi use platform, trees, and other plantings.

The City of Elmira signed an agreement with Streeter Associates Construction to perform the work. The expected completion date is September 2020.

The New York State Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI) program is funding this vital city project. New York State awarded DRI funding to the City of Elmira in 2017. The project team is composed of Hunt Engineers, acting as Project Lead and Project Engineers; Whitham Planning & Design, acting as Project Landscape Architects; Sienna Environmental Technologies, leading the Environmental Permitting processes; and T.Y. Lin International, performing Structural Engineering services for the garage.

New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, “Safe and accessible public gathering spaces are the hallmark of a vibrant downtown and the new Clemens Square will transform an underutilized space into a beautiful park space right in the heart of Elmira’s downtown.

In the current pandemic, we’ve seen the critical role that parks, squares and open spaces play in overcoming social isolation and bringing people together outdoors at a safe distance.

Clemens Square will serve as a model for post-COVID downtown design because it offers flexible outdoor space in which residents can enjoy physical activity, fresh air and socializing at a safe distance.”

Mayor Dan Mandell stated, “The 1.2-million-dollar renovation of Clemens Square will be a great addition to Elmira’s downtown where people can congregate to relax and enjoy downtown Elmira.

It will also provide a well-lighted area for pedestrians to walk to the different businesses located in the area surrounding Clemens Square. Many thanks go out to Governor Cuomo and New York Department of State for the funding of this project and their commitment in helping revitalize our great City.”

In addition to improvements to Clemens Square, DRI will fund subsequent improvements to the Centertown Garage and Mark Twain Riverfront Park. As of this writing, the Centertown Garage project is expected to begin Fall 2020. The Riverfront Park improvements are currently under review by NYSDEC, and the work is expected to begin Fall 2020. Further announcements will be made once these contracts are underway.

Other projects that received DRI funding are the 100 West Water Street development, completed Summer 2019; Lake Street Pedestrian Bridge, on which construction will begin this summer; DRI Zoning Update, set for final approval in July 2020; and the Activate Building Program, Small Business Capital Improvement Grants for 12 projects, which are scheduled for completion Winter 2020.