Watertown, other local communities get millions of $ for improvements

The former Wind & Wire Music building (white building) and Strauss Memorial Walkway
The former Wind & Wire Music building (white building) and Strauss Memorial Walkway(WWNY)
Published: Dec. 20, 2022 at 3:33 PM EST
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WATERTOWN, New York (WWNY) - Watertown, Ogdensburg, Potsdam, and other north country communities are getting millions of dollars to improve their downtowns.

More than $102 million has been awarded for projects across the state through the Restore New York Communities Initiative.

Restore New York supports municipal revitalization efforts, helping to remove blight, reinvigorate downtowns, and generate economic opportunity in communities.

Watertown is getting the most money, $1.35 million, to tear down the former Wind & Wire Music building at 75 Public Square.

According to Watertown Planning and Community Development Director Michael Lumbis, the building and the Strauss Memorial Walkway space next door would then be redeveloped.

A 4-story building would be built and incorporate the walkway, which connects Public Square with the J.B. Wise parking lot.

The building will include 19,000 square feet of commercial space, a restaurant, and market-rate apartments.

The properties are owned by Ken Bodah and Mike Pierce.

According to Lumbis, the former Wind & Wire building has been on Public Square since 1840 or so. In 1968, a fire destroyed the Strauss building next door and heavily damaged the side of the Wind & Wire building.

The Strauss family tore down its burned building and donated the property to the city in 1984. Several years later, the city opened the memorial walkway.

Bodah and Pierce now own the walkway property.

Lumbis said much of the Wind & Wire building’s façade reflects repairs made following the 1968 fire.

Here’s a list of what the state awarded to the north country:

  • City of Watertown, 75 - 79 Public Square Redevelopment: ($1.35 million) Demolition of a blighted building and construction of a new 4-story mixed-use building with 19,000 sq. ft. of commercial space, restaurant, and market-rate apartments in downtown Watertown.
  • Village of Potsdam, Six Depot Street Redevelopment: ($1.3 million) Rehabilitation of vacant condemned space into commercial space, event space, and 4 apartments in downtown Potsdam.
  • Village of Chaumont, George Brothers Buildings Redevelopment: ($990,000) Redevelopment of four vacant buildings in downtown / Main Street Chaumont into 7 upper-floor apartments and ground-level commercial space.
  • Town of Lyme, 12319 NYS Route 12E Redevelopment: ($700,000) Demolition of a long-vacant blighted former gas station and construction of a new 4,000 sq. ft. diner at the gateway to the village.
  • Village of Canton, St. Lawrence Suds: ($610,000) Rehabilitation of a vacant 101-year-old barn into 4,512 sq. ft. two-story brewpub.
  • City of Ogdensburg, 1223 Pickering Street Commercial Rehabilitation: ($1.3 million) Rehabilitation of former retail space into 36,000 sq. ft. of commercial space to be occupied by a hardware store and the community rescue squad.
  • Town of Orleans, Mixed Use Building Redevelopment: ($1.1 million) Rehabilitation of 9,240 sq. ft. of new commercial and residential space in downtown LaFargeville.