Watertown’s $10 million downtown grant begins to bear fruit

Downtown Watertown grant

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Watertown received $10 million from the state in 2017 to improve the downtown area. Now, there are signs of progress.

Apartments in the Paddock Arcade have been stripped back to the brick.

The bare bones rooms mean things are on track according to DGM Coon and Company owner, Donald Coon.

His company manages the Paddock Arcade property.

The first story apartment is already coming together.

Coon, however, says the two upstairs rooms were in bad shape when his company first bought the building about 15 years ago.

“The plaster was falling off the walls, the ceilings were falling down," said Coon, “that it was, the kind of thing you think of when you go into a dilapidated old building that hadn’t been touched in many years."

The refurbishing project is part of the state funded Downtown Revitalization Initiative.

Work on the apartments started in January.

Coon hopes to have three of the five apartments finished by the end of the year.

He believes more people living downtown will boost the area's economy.

“You have people that are going to the restaurants, and bars, and you know, take advantage of all the services that there are downtown as well,” said Coon.

The work on the Paddock apartments is already underway, but that’s only one project the DRI funds are for.

According to Watertown Senior Planner Jennifer Voss, there are plans to beautify Court Street, along with stretches of Franklin and Coffeen Street.

She says the city will also look at the viability of making Court Street a two-way road.

The city is waiting to receive a contract from the Department of State, assuring it will be reimbursed through the DRI.

Voss says no work will begin until then.

The DRI will also fund enhancements to the Paddock Arcade public space.

Coon says work on that project will start next year.

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